Johnnie Walker is Opening a Big New Visitor Center in Edinburgh

| May 14, 2019

Diageo will open a brand-new Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh as the focal point of a £150 million investment in scotch tourism the company announced last spring. The center, which will reportedly employ more than 160 people, just received official approval from the City of Edinburgh,

“We have had great support for our proposals from local stakeholders and businesses in Edinburgh and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to get to this stage,” said David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland. “We will continue to work with the local community as we now progress with construction and with making our plans a reality.”

A drawing of the planned Diageo Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh (image via Diageo)

Scotch tourism generally centers around more rural areas of Scotland, as that’s where most of the whisky is produced. This Edinburgh attraction looks geared at attracting visitors to the city who might not go out of their way to seek out a distillery, but could be enticed to enjoy a dram as they’re passing through.

The centerpiece of the attraction, which features rooftop access with views of the city, as well as retail space on the first floor, will be a “multi-sensory, immersive visitor experience across three floors,” which will take visitors through the 200-year history of Johnnie Walker, explain how whisky is made, and take them “on a journey through the flavours of Scotland.”

The company is also making an effort to integrate it into Edinburgh’s cultural life, hosting arts and community events, and will also host a training academy as part of Diageo’s Learning for Life program. That initiative “creates training and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry for unemployed people, and works to improve hospitality standards and promotes the responsible serving and consumption of alcohol.”

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The Edinburgh visitor center is among a number of tourist attractions Diageo is planning across Scotland, which also includes plans to reopen the Port Ellen and Brora distilleries. The company just submitted the proposal for the Port Ellen project, which we wrote about earlier this year, to local authorities.

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Katelyn Best

Katelyn is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon. She's a regular contributor to the Whiskey Wash with an affinity for the unique and weird side of whiskey.