Attractions industry news

29 Oct 2020

Glenkinchie Distillery attraction opens as part of £185m investment in whisky tourism

LA-based experience design studio, BRC Imagination Arts, is the creative force behind the new Glenkinchie Distillery attraction, which has opened today (29 October 2020) near Edinburgh, Scotland.

The single malt distillery is located in East Lothian, a region known for its produce and has undergone a major transformation of its visitor attraction as part of a wider £185m investment by owner, Diageo.

Glenkinchie will be known as the ‘Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker’ and is the first of four distillery attractions around Scotland to be designed by BRC, that will form a network of brand homes linked to Diageo’s brands.

Distilleries have been chosen for investment in the north, south, east and west of the country, to showcase Scotland's diverse styles of whisky-making.

At the heart of the cycle of attractions will be the global centrepiece – Johnnie Walker Princes Street – which will open in Edinburgh in summer 2021.

The Glenkinchie Distillery attraction is surrounded by landscaped gardens, curated to reflect the rural setting and offers an immersive guest experience in the distillery’s traditional Victorian red-brick warehouses.

BRC has created the Glenkinchie brand home as a full sensory experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history, craft and flavour of whisky. 

The new experience takes visitors on a journey through Glenkinchie’s rich heritage, its generations of whisky makers and its intricate flavour-creation process.

Tasting rooms allow guests to enjoy the whisky, while a bar area serves tasting platters, whisky highballs and a selection of dram flights after tours. 

The new attraction offers a range of specialist tours and events, including a Glenkinchie Flavour Journey; the Whisky in the Wild tour; Warehouse and Cask Tour; Flowers and Cocktails Class and a Behind the Scenes Tour and Tasting. 

Barbara Smith, MD of brand homes for Diageo in Scotland, opened the attraction with a ceremonial tree planting.

She said: “The opening of the visitor experience and garden is the first step in our long-term, £185million investment in whisky tourism in Scotland.

“We’re acutely aware of the difficult times many people are going through, particularly our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sector across Scotland. We know there’s a long way to go and a lot of uncertainty ahead. Still, we believe in the resilience of our business and our communities, and we will be doing all we can through our investment to sow the seeds of recovery and future growth.”

Ramsay Borthwick, Glenkinchie Distillery manager, said: “Glenkinchie will give people a thrilling first taste of the new cycle of visitor experiences we're creating across Scotland.

“We’ll be offering people an experience like no other distillery in Scotland and that will be followed by the transformation of our distilleries at Clynelish, Cardhu and Caol Ila over the coming months, as we build towards the opening of our global Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction in Edinburgh next summer.”

Glenkinchie was recently presented with a Gold Award by Green Tourism, the visitor attractions benchmark for environmental sustainability, while accessibility has been implemented in line with Euan’s Guide, the information source for accessibility in visitor attractions.

Watch the promotional video for the new attraction here.

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