Diageo has officially opened Cardhu Distillery in Speyside. The reimagined distillery has been most recently highlighted as the heart of the Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker blend, which honors Elizabeth Cumming, a pioneering woman who played a significant role in Johnnie Walker history when she sold the Cardhu distillery to the Walker family in 1893.
The distinctive flag used by Helen Cumming of Cardhu’s founding family–one of whisky’s most famous female pioneers–to warn illicit distillers of the approaching “excise man” in the 1800s now flies above the distillery once again.
Cardhu joins Glenkinchie in the Lowlands and the Highland distillery of Clynelish as part of Johnnie Walker’s “four corners” distilleries, which opened their doors to the public after being transformed into world-leading tourism destinations.
The new visitor experience celebrates the distillery’s 200-year history and legacy asa pivotal part of the Johnnie Walker story, it was sold by the Cummings family to Johnnie Walker and Sons in 1893 and became integral to the Johnnie Walker success story over the coming decades. The state-of-the-art space includes an immersive story-telling experience with a projection story room, a whisky tasting kitchen, and an updated whisky experience tours.
“We are delighted to be raising the flag at Cardhu to mark the opening of the new visitor experience just as our distilling pioneer Helen Cumming did two centuries ago,” said Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Chief Marketing Officer. “When Helen raised her flag,it was to warn her neighbors and the local community, but today we raise the flag in a symbol of confidence and ambition for the future of Scotch whisky and tourism in Speyside and throughout Scotland.
“Cardhu is a special whisky, a special distillery with a special history and heritage, and the investment we have made creates an exciting and engaging experience that will surprise and delight visitors whether they are local stay-cationers in the UK or tourists from around the globe when they are able to travel.”
Cardhu is the third of the ‘Four Corner’ Johnnie Walker distillery experiences. Each ‘Four Corner’ distillery represents one of Scotland’s four whisky making regions and contributes to the iconic blends of Johnnie Walker whiskies. Next, the Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky experience in Edinburgh will open later this summer. It will be the center-piece in the company’s goal to modernize whisky tourism in Scotland. Next, Caol Ila Distillery on Islay will reopen in 2022 after its own reimagining, to complete the ‘four corners’ story. Most recently, the iconic “ghost” distillery of Brora was also reawakened after 38 years and is producing whisky once again as part of the Diageo investment.
“Cardhu is the latest step in our £185 million investment journey to transform Scotch whisky tourism and to create truly world-class visitor experiences at our distilleries, and at Johnnie Walker Princes Street when it opens later this summer,” said Ewan Andrew, President of Global Supply Chain and Procurement.
“Everyone involved in this project is incredibly proud of the visitor attractions we are creating, and of the contribution they will make to the economic recovery of Scotland,” continued Andrew. “This is not just an investment in Scotch whisky tourism, but an investment in the future growth of Scotch whisky by engaging new generations of whisky consumers both at home and around the world.”
Visitors to the distillery will be able to explore the distillation and maturation process of Cardhu’s signature Scotch, bursting with notes of orchard fruits and freshly cut grass, as part of a selection of updated interactive tours and experiences, and enjoy a dram or highball at the brand home’s new modern Tasting Kitchen.
Cardhu Distillery will initially welcome UK visitors in accordance with the latest safety guidelines and look to host international tourists when it is deemed safe to travel by the Scottish Government.
Diageo has worked closely with Euan’s Guide, a Scottish Charity that works to improve accessibility at all visitor attractions, to make the brand home more accessible for visitors. Diageo has also introduced new sustainability measures as part of its redevelopment to help drive its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress action plan, such as reducing overall light pollution, conserving water with landscaping and site implementations systems and safeguarding local pollinators and wildlife with a new biodiversity protection programme.
Recently the Lowlandand Highland homes of Johnnie Walker, Glenkinchieand Clynelish, received Scotland’s most prestigious Green Tourism Gold award and Cardhu will open as a Green Tourism Gold accredited site. Green Tourism’s certification programme provides a framework to achieve a sustainable tourism business and recognises the commitment of businesses which are actively working to become more sustainable. With the award recognising the full breadth of each distillery’s green operating credentials, from sending zero-waste to landfill to the sustainability of its distillation process and the high standards of water efficiency and stewardship.
For more information and to book a tour at Cardhu Distillery, head over to Diageo’s official Scotch website.