Diageo strengthens presence in North America RTD segment with launch of new US$110m canning facility 

USA – Diageo North America is expanding its capacity for ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages with the opening of a new canning facility in  Plainfield, Illinois. 

The owner of Gordon’s gin and Johny Walker spirit brands has invested approximately US$110 million in the new 225,000-square-foot facility. 

The facility features two new canning lines which Diageo plans to “accelerate the development of the company’s RTD portfolio” and build its “growth strategy in the convenience category”. 

Michael L Nelson, senior VP of manufacturing and distillation at Diageo North America, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the speed and innovative approach from our team and partners in their efforts to build this site in record time.  

Diageo Lincolnway will be instrumental in accelerating our offerings in the convenience space and help meet consumer demand.” 

Acceleration into RTD is timely as the category is the fastest-growing category in total beverage alcohol in the United States, growing 20% between 2016 and 2019.  

 An October 2021 study by drinks market analysis firm IWSR found that volume shares of the overall ready-to-drink category are set to double in the next five years.   

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This growth will give the category command of 8% of total beverage alcohol by 2025, up from the current 4% share.  

This is what Diageo is targeting with its new canning lines, according to North American president Debra Crew. 

“Part of our largest overall expansion at the moment is a line dedicated to spirit cocktails,” explains Crew.   

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“We’ve been taking our biggest spirit brands and putting them in cocktails. Consumers are looking for more convenience in what they’re consuming. We believe that the future of this RTD area is in better, more convenient cocktails.” 

With an expanded capacity at Plainfield, the Smirnoff producer will be better poised to dig deeper into the category and bring RTDs from more of its portfolio to market. 

The facility, named Lincolnway, will produce some of Diageo’s latest brands, including Smirnoff seltzers and spirits based RTD cocktails from Crown Royal and Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz. 

In addition to an expansion of the brand’s convenience and canned products, the facility will add 50 new full-time jobs to the 600 jobs currently offered across Diageo’s Plainfield presence.  

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