gavin smith

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Whisky News, July 2014

by Gavin D Smith

Diageo in Kentucky

proposal News reaches us that Diageo's ambitious spirit capacity expansion plans extend beyond Scotland and into deepest Kentucky. The company is to spend around $115 million over a three-year period constructing a 1.8 million proof gallon distillery and six maturation warehouses on a 300-acre site beside Benson Pike in Shelby County. "This proposed investment in Shelby County, in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon country, will cement our commitment to expanding our share of the American whiskey category," says Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. "Diageo has a long tradition within the craft of whiskey-making and we look forward to bringing this artisanship to the new distillery. The distillery will build on our presence in Kentucky and we are committed to being a productive member of the local community. We are very thankful for the support we have received thus far from state and local officials and look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship." A Diageo spokesperson adds that "Fuelled by flavour innovations and consumer demand for premium brands with authenticity, Bourbon is currently the fastest growing spirits category in the US, enjoying 14 per cent value growth for the latest 52 weeks. This popularity is mirrored globally, with the super-premium price segment growing 24 per cent over the last three years." Diageo already owns the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Shively, near Louisville, but this has been silent since 1992. However, some $2 million has been invested in the development of a 'whiskey education centre' in the distillery's original administration building. This has created a brand home for Diageo's popular Bulleit brand, though Bulleit Bourbon is actually distilled under licence at Four Roses distillery near Lawrenceburg, owned by the Japanese Kirin Brewing Company.

New Dew

centre With completion of William Grant & Sons' new Tullamore distillery due in the next few weeks, the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre on the site of the original plant in the County Offaly town has recently opened its new 'Bond' restaurant. According to a brand spokesperson, "The new restaurant, inspired by Tullamore D.E.W.'s distinct 'Irish True' personality and locally sourced Irish produce, combines high end gastro-pub style food with a whiskey-infused twist. "Diners can expect dishes of imagination and flair combining the finest local ingredients with a warm and atmospheric eating experience. Signature dishes include Lamb Shank Redemption, a slowly braised lamb shank resting in onion and rosemary jus, with seasonal farm vegetables and potatoes. Whiskey inspired dishes include the 'D.E.W. York D.E.W. York house burger' and 'Irish Drunken Mushrooms,' flambéed in Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse release." The Bond' is part of the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre, which was extensively redesigned and re-launched as an interactive experience in September 2012.

New Scots Distilleries

Lakes Several Scottish craft distillery ventures are coming to fruition, with Kingsbarns distillery in Fife, backed by Wemyss Malts, due to host its official opening on St Andrews Day (30th November 2014), with the visitor centre on track to open a few weeks later. Over in Argyllshire, the Adelphi distillery at Ardnamurchan looks likely to be producing ahead of Kingsbarns, while the restored Annandale distillery in Dumfries-shire should also be up and running in the next few weeks. Ballindalloch on Speyside is nearing completion, too, and south of the border, The Lakes distillery expects to be in production during September. Exciting times.

And Glasgow too

distillery The city of Glasgow is also to get a new distillery, located at Stobcross Road, on the banks of the River Clyde. Planning permission has been approved to spend £10 million on the project, based around the Victorian Pump House building, between the Hydro Arena and the Riverside Museum. Due for completion next autumn, the development in the Pump House will embrace a whisky museum and interactive visitor experience, while contemporary new buildings will contain a specialist whisky retail outlet, café, whisky tasting bar and the actual distillery. The venture is the work of a small group of industry experts, led by Tim Morrison - formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and current proprietor of the AD Rattray Scotch Whisky Company. "The city was once home to many whisky distilleries and we think The Glasgow Distillery will put Glasgow right back on the Scotch whisky map. Few people know the historical significance of the iconic pump house building to the Scotch whisky trade," says Morrison. "In years gone by, this building controlled the entry bridge into the Queen's Dock, ensuring Customs and Excise could keep a close eye on goods in and out, including Scotch whisky. "My great-grandfather, John Morrison, built the Pump House in 1877 and it gives me great pleasure, to now have the opportunity to bring the building back to life, restore it to its former glory and give it and the surrounding area the respect and status it deserves."

And finally...

Peat "The way we purr." In terms of cats, Glenturret is best known for its exceptional, record-breaking mouser, Towser, but now a kitten by the name of Peat has joined the distillery ranks, after previous incumbent Barley went walkabout last winter and failed to return. Lesley Williamson, Business Development Manager of The Famous Grouse Experience, observes that "We were very sorry to lose Barley. However, the team is truly delighted to welcome Peat to our Glenturret distillery family. The fluffy little bundle has already been charming his way into our visitors' hearts, has already made himself at home in our new Tasting Bar and is showing signs of settling in nicely." All together now - "Aww..."

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