Drinks giant Diageo to create its first Chinese-origin single malt at new $75m distillery


iageo has revealed it is investing $75 million (£55 million) into building its first whisky distillery in China as it targets the country‘s high-end market.

The FTSE 100 drinks giant, behind brands from Johnnie Walker to Talisker, said it plans to open a 710,000 sq ft facility producing its first Chinese-origin single malt in Yunnan province.

Construction on the Diageo Eryuan Malt Whisky Distillery is set to begin early next year and open in 2023.

China has a $1.7 billion whisky market, according to Euromonitor International. Diageo is targeting premium drinkers, and hopes its offering will rival local favourite baijiu as a go-to for gift-giving.

Diageo’s Asia Pacific boss, Sam Fischer, said the distillery aims to woo “the next generation of Chinese whisky consumers”.

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He said: “China is the world’s largest beverage alcohol market and the demand for whisky is growing rapidly among middle-class consumers who are keen to further discover and enjoy fine whiskies.”

The facility will be carbon neutral after opening. It will recycle all the water it uses, and be a zero-waste site.

It will also offer a visitor centre.