SCOTLAND  – Diageo has opened a new £6.4 million (US$8.03m) innovation and research centre in Menstrie, Scotland, which will be home to the company’s science, technology and innovation projects across the drinks industry supply chain.

Diageo said the research centre, located adjacent to the company’s existing International Technical Centre in Clackmannanshire, would help to improve sustainability across the supply chain including distillation, maturation, packaging and logistics.

“For over a century we have been at the forefront of scientific and technological advances in the distilling industry and with these state-of-the-art facilities we are now investing in the next 100 years of innovation and growth,” said David Cutter, Diageo global president for supply and procurement and chief sustainability officer.

“We have exceptionally talented people and these new laboratories provide a great environment for them to do their best work.

“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to lead the next generation of research into sustainability throughout our supply chain for the future.”

Also speaking during the opening ceremony, Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said “I particularly welcome its commitment to environmental sustainability, which has included a £100 million (US$125.6m) investment in renewable energy facilities,” she said.

“Our journey towards becoming a net-zero society will require us all – governments, businesses communities and individuals – to work together to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change whilst seizing the economic opportunities that this will create.”

The Johnnie Walker owner has also said that it will launch ‘Pitch//It at Mad//Fest London’ on 13-14 November, as it seeks to find start-ups that can improve the engagement and experience of its brands, reports Spirits Business.

Diageo will select 15 start-ups to pitch at Mad//Fest after which the winning start-up will receive a Diageo pilot valued at upwards of £20,000 (US$25,000), subject to Diageo regulatory approval, as well as free exhibition space at Mad//Fest 2020.

Benni Lickfett, head of technology and innovation at Diageo, said: “Innovation is at the heart of how we do business at Diageo – whether that’s product development in our six innovation labs around the world or investing in the most exciting founder-led drinks brands via Distil Ventures.

“We’re also focused on innovation outside of the bottle that can add a new dimension to the experience of our brands – so we’re excited to discover new innovations and lay the foundations for future collaborations by getting behind the Pitch//It start-up at Mad//Fest.”