CHINA – British multinational beverage company, Diageo has broken ground on a US$75 million whisky distillery in Eryuan County, China which is set to produce the company’s first China-origin single malt whisky. 

Diageo said the site for the new 66,000 square metres facility was selected for its temperate climate, rich biodiversity, and access to natural spring water. 

The new distillery will also feature an interactive visitor centre to attract whisky enthusiasts and boost the local tourism industry.  

Both the distillery and visitor centre designs will incorporate cultural elements and embrace the region’s natural landscape. 

 “Today we celebrate another significant step forward, and one which builds upon our local insights and combines those with Diageo’s global whisky expertise in order to delight the next generation of Chinese whisky consumers,” commented Sam Fischer, president of Diageo Asia Pacific and global travel.   

Single Malts; a Chinese favourite 

Single malts are one of the few drinks that Chinese consumers enjoy at home or in small groups, with volumes rising 20% in 2020, wine and spirits consultancy IWSR said. 

The drinks market research firm further noted that single malts were also the preferred tipple among China’s large population of millennial consumers. 

COVID-19-driven restrictions on foreign travel have also saved people money and driven a growing fondness for high-end spirits. 

In July, the Johnnie Walker whisky maker reported that double-digit growth in scotch whiskeys contributed to a 38% jump in net sales in Greater China in its fiscal 2021 ended June 30. 

“China is the world’s largest beverage alcohol market and the demand for whisky is growing rapidly among middle-class consumers who are keen to further discover and enjoy fine whiskies,” Sam Fischer added.

The new whisky distillery is expected to help Diageo meet China’s insatiable demand for single malt whiskies. 

The company also said the site of the distillery, called Diageo Eryuan Malt Whisky Distillery, will be carbon neutral when it opens. 

The news of the Chinese distillery comes after Diageo announced plans to invest more than US$500 million to expand its tequila footprint in Mexico. 

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