Diageo, the worldâ€™s leading premium drinks business, will this week submit a planning application for the expansion of the Glen Ord distillery near Muir of Ord.
The planning application, which will be submitted to Highland Council, is the latest step in Diageoâ€™s Â£1billion investment plan to expand Scotch whisky production capacity over the next five years, which was announced by Diageo in June.
As part of the investment programme Diageo plans to expand around half of its existing 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, as well as building at least one new single malt distillery.
Glen Ord is a key distillery for Diageo, producing spirit for its world-leading portfolio of blended Scotch whiskies, as well as for The Singleton of Glen Ord single malt Scotch whisky.
Under the plans being submitted this week, the distillery will see the installation of 10 new washbacks (vessels for the fermentation process) and six new copper stills. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has and will add to the production capacity by around 5million litres of alcohol per annum. This will take the overall capacity of the distillery to over 10mla. The new washbacks and stills will be housed in existing buildings at the distillery.
An additional mash-tun will be installed as part of the investment.
Brian Higgs, Diageoâ€™s Director of Malt Distilling, said: â€œEarlier this year Diageo announced plans to invest Â£1bn in expanding its whisky production business in Scotland in order to meet growing global demand for our brands.
â€œOver the next few months we will be bringing forward a number of planning applications to increase capacity at our existing distilleries and the Glen Ord expansion is an important part of that programme.â€
Kirsty Dagnan, Senior Site Manager of Glen Ord Distillery, also welcomed the investment plan for the distillery.
She said: â€œIâ€™m delighted that Glen Ord distillery will benefit as part of Diageoâ€™s plan to invest in Scotland and Iâ€™m particularly pleased that the local economy will also have the opportunity to benefit from the work we plan to carry out here.
â€œWe will be working closely with the local authority and consulting carefully with the local community in the weeks ahead as we follow the planning application process.â€
Glen Ord Distillery has already benefited from significant investment by Diageo in recent years. In 2011 Diageo invested over Â£3million to increase the capacity of the distillery by around a million litres by installing additional washbacks.
Last month Diageo submitted Proposal of Application Notices (PANs) in relation to three possible sites for a new distillery, although no final decision has been taken on the location. The sites identified for possible development are Teaninich, Ross-shire, and Glendullan and Inchgower, both on Speyside. All three locations are adjacent to existing Diageo distilleries.