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Diageo Sees Scotch Whisky Tourism Booming

January 22, 2018

Diageo says 2017 was a banner year for tourism at its Scotch whisky distilleries, which welcomed a total of 440,260 visitors last year, representing a 15% increase from 2016. Over the past five years, the visitor count across Diageo’s Scotch distilleries has nearly doubled, with one in five tourists to Scotland now making a trip to a distillery part of their itinerary.

Diageo’s Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry—home of the Bell’s brand—was the company’s busiest Scottish tourist site last year, drawing 86,000 people, up 23% from 2016. Blair Athol opened a new “mash tun whisky tasting bar” last July which has proved popular with visitors. Clynelish distillery, located in Brora, also had a strong year, with visitors more than doubling to 8,544, and Lagavulin, on Islay, saw its visitor total jump 50% to 27,040 as the distillery celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Diageo has a total of 12 dedicated visitor centers across its 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, also including Glenkinchie, Talisker, Oban, Dalwhinnie and Cardhu, among others. In celebration of the second International Scotch Day on February 8, the distillery visitor centers will open their doors for free on February 8-10.—Daniel Marsteller

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