Diageo’s unprecedented £185million investment across Scotland coincides with the 200th anniversary of the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky — Johnnie Walker. As a part of this investment, Diageo approached BRC to transform their existing Distillery Visitor Centres from production tours into Brand Homes that offer a sense of hospitality, joy and connection for a new generation of whisky drinkers. As a work of sensory theatre, the redevelopment is unlike anything seen in Scotland before. ‘The Garden Distillery’ includes a completely renovated visitor centre and new 35,000 sq. ft. garden inspired by East Lothian’s abundant lands, full of wildflowers and local wildlife. The rural setting and surrounding gardens hint at the magic contained in a measure of Glenkinchie, allowing local and international visitors to immerse themselves in the art and enjoyment of Scotch whisky. In addition to the renovation of the brand home’s interiors and exteriors, the distillery has introduced an updated whisky tour format and series of interactive whisky tasting sessions. These include a Glenkinchie Flavour Journey, Whisky in the Wild tour, Flowers and Cocktails masterclass, and other specialised tours and tastings. Among other highlights of the transformed Glenkinchie is The Generations Room, which brings to life the personal stories of the people behind Glenkinchie, and a new bar café that offers a variety of locally-sourced tasting platters, whisky serves, cocktails and honey produced onsite. Efforts to create a truly inclusive brand home include implementing accessibility measures in line with Euan’s Guide, the information source for accessibility in visitor attractions. Signage uses universal symbols and language-assist devices are available. The brand home and gardens are family-, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, and all experiences offer non-alcoholic options. BRC has worked across Diageo’s £185million investment to transform Scotland’s whisky tourism industry, with Glenkinchie the first of 12 Diageo distilleries to reopen as a part of that journey. Despite opening under the current Covid restrictions, the reimagined Glenkinchie is a tremendous success. Early visitors have included neighbours, whisky enthusiasts and tourists. Reservations have filled 80% of available tickets and per cap spending has risen nearly 120%.
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