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Johnnie Walker Princes Street experience opens

Diageo's Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience has opened in Edinburgh.

Almost five years in the making, the experience for Johnnie Walker - the world's best-selling Scotch whisky - is set across eight floors in a retail space in the heart of Edinburgh.

It is the centrepiece of Diageo's £185 million investment programme in whisky tourism in Scotland - the largest single investment in the industry to date.

Ivan Mendez, Diageo's CEO, and Johnnie Walker Princes Street managing director Barbara Smith were both present for a launch event at the experience on 2 September. The building officially opens to the public on 6 September.

Mendez said: "This is a proud day for everyone. Last year Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years since founder John Walker opened the doors to his small grocery store and today represents the next chapter of the incredible story. 

"Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a landmark investment in Scotch whisky and into Scotland and it sets a new standard for immersive visitor attractions. It celebrates Scotland's remarkable heritage, our incredible skilled whisky makers, and looks to the future by engaging new generations fo consumers from around the world in the magic of Scotch whisky."

Johnnie Walker Princes Street focuses on personalisation of experience, with visitors given the chance to map their flavour preferences to make a drink tailored to their palate from more than 800 available flavour combinations. 

Set over 71,500 sq ft in a former department store, the experience has a team of 150 employees speaking 23 languages. Alongside the experiential retail space, there are two rooftop bars and a cellar featuring a range of rare casks for visitors to sample.

The building has also opened its doors with a Green Tourism Gold Award, signalling its commitment to sustainability in design and operation.

Barbara Smith said: "We're thrilled to be opening the doors and helping to re-build tourism and hospitality industry after a very difficult 18 months. The story of the world's best-selling whisky has been brought to life with flair and imagination and we have built a team which includes some of the most talented individuals in their fields."

In addition to the creation of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Diageo has invested in improving distillery visitor centres at the four 'homes' of Johnnie Walker around Scotland: Glenkinchie, Clynelish, Cardhu and Caol Ila.

2 September 2021 - Bethany Whymark