One Billion reasons to be happy?

RoseIsle, the Diageo malt whisky flagship

Normally, if a large and successful firm announces a £1 Billion investment into Scotland, there’s universal praise. Not so in the divided and fractious Scotch Whisky industry! Diageo (for it is it them) announce a £1billion investment, which may or may not mean that another ‘super distillery’ (similar to the incredible RoseIsle, just outside Elgin) could be getting built. It’ll mean jobs, new whisky and of course, because it’s a Scotch Whisky investment and you can only make Scotch whisky in Scotland, it has GOT to be in erm…Scotland.

On Twitter and the other social platforms, there’s a backlash, relating to the fact that Diageo recently closed a bottling plant in Kilmarnock, forcing hundreds out of work, so this REALLY wasn’t new jobs they were creating, at all. There was also the factual content relating to Diageo not really being Scottish and the more personal opinions of them ‘forcing’ a mass-manufactured blend on the World. A certain ‘Laddie’ from Islay REALLY likes to stir things up in this distilling department!

In our eyes, a bloody great big distillery being built in Speyside/Highland is a business and a Scotch whisky success. Enough Diageo-baiting, please. After all, It’s got to be constructed, the pubs in the local area will get a spin, as will hotels and all the local shops. It also keeps Scotch high on the agenda. There are lots of other people making whisky now. Let’s hope ALL the distillers follow their steps and invest in a similar, massive new distillery in Scotland!

One £BILLION… It’s definitely a bit of spin and even if it does mean another massive ‘blendo-factory’ being built, it’s going to protect whisky made in Scotland, so it HAS to be a good thing. After all, I’m sure that Diageo (and others) have looked at ‘Fine Whisky in the ‘Scottish-style’, (produce of more than one country)’ aspect, moving production to other places and quietly dropping the word ‘Scottish’, in a move to service a burgeoning global market. They’ve dropped age statements, there’s lots of other things they could drop. How about the Country of origin? Does their whisky REALLY have to be made in Scotland any more?

Thankfully, it seems that, for the moment, ‘Scotch’ is just too strong a factor in the sales and provenance process. That’s why some mega Distillers are buying Rum brands and creating Gins though! It’s a big world out there and if we make setting up Whisky Distilleries in Scotland a difficult process or a negative process, there are lots of other spirits that will step to fill the void. And you can distil them ANYWHERE!

Scotch Whisky’s on the crest of a wave at the moment and we do agree with some of the detractors, we have to guard against it being a generic, ‘me-too’ product. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but ‘Scotch’ can only be made in Scotland! We’ve got the Scotch Whisky Association to thank for this. They’re seen as a bit ‘old school’ by quite a few folk but they are great at giving Scotch Whisky a provenance and a strong legal standpoint to build on. ‘Scotch’, something to be proud of!

So, worry not about mega-distilleries, whisky lovers! If we produce millions of litres of blended Scotch Whisky and it ‘spreads the whisky love’ and it gives the World a taste for whisky, which then goes on to develop into a LOVE of fine malt whisky, then our mantra of Drink Less. Drink Better, will have moved another step closer.

If this does happen (and it sort of is already) and far-flung markets (who actually find Scotland to be quite exotic!) move-on, to seek out Scottish craft distilleries, with their lovingly-created, boutique, small runs, special finishes and exquisite packaging, even Mark Reynier (oops, we’ve said his name) might be happy! He’ll then be able to put his OWN unique spin on the story.

So, spread the whisky love, Scotland! Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Edrington…everyone…INCLUDING Bruichladdich!

Don’t you just love the whisky Industry!


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