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Diageo reopens distillery visitor attractions

Monday, 27 July 2020 Industry news

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Diageo, Scotland’s leading distilling company, has today announced plans for a phased reopening of its Scotch whisky brand home tourist attractions with comprehensive new measures to build community and visitor confidence.

The company’s network of 12 Scotch whisky distillery brand homes across Scotland have been closed throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, and now in line with Scottish Government guidance Diageo plans to gradually begin welcoming back visitors.

Kicking off this week with Blair Athol Distillery and Oban Distillery the phased reopening schedule for distillery tours will be as follows:

  • Monday 27th July: Blair Athol Distillery visitor experiences reopen for tours.
  • Wednesday 29th July: Oban Distillery visitor experiences reopen for tours.
  • Monday 3rd August: Cardhu Distillery, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery and Royal Lochnagar Distillery reopen retail spaces and limited whisky masterclasses
  • Monday 10th August: Cardhu Distillery, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery and Royal Lochnagar Distillery reopen full distillery visitor experience or tours.
  • Date TBC later in August: No date has been set for the reopening of Caol Ila Distillery and Lagavulin Distillery on Islay and Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye. These will be subject to future announcements depending on local circumstances in these island communities. Cragganmore Distillery in Speyside will also open at a later date.
  • Date TBC later in 2020: Diageo’s final two brand homes at Glenkinchie Distillery and Clynelish Distillery – which are currently under major refurbishment as part of the company’s investment in whisky tourism – will also remain closed until the construction projects are complete later this year.

The distilleries will go beyond compliance with all relevant guidelines to build the confidence of staff, visitors and communities, including mandatory temperature checks for all visitors, limiting the number of visitors on site, screens in all retail units, ensuring physical distancing throughout, increased cleaning procedures and hand sanitiser stations.

As part of the phased reopening Diageo today launched a short film to showcase what visitors can expect when they arrive – a warm welcome and an enjoyable, safe experience.

Diageo’s distilleries have all been accredited as part of the “Good To Go” scheme that has been developed by VisitScotland and other UK tourism bodies to rebuild visitor confidence.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Diageo’s Brand Homes, said:

“We are pleased that the time has finally come to reopen the doors of our distilleries in Scotland again so that people can once again enjoy the magic of Scotch whisky.
“We have put in place comprehensive measures to make our distilleries as welcoming and safe as possible and we are taking a gradual approach to reopening so we can build the confidence of our people, visitors and communities.”

Full details of the reopening plan and how to book tours will be available at www.malts.com/reopening.pdf

The company is also the leading private sector investor in whisky tourism with £185m investment programme to transform its Scotch Whisky visitor experience. This includes a new global visitor attraction for Johnnie Walker, the world’s leading Scotch whisky, in Edinburgh, as well as investment in its 12 distillery visitor centres and the revival of the iconic lost distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora.

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