Diageo wants to expand its Kirkcaldy facility to house over 2.8 million whisky casks

Diageo has petitioned the Fife council to expand their Kirkaldy warehouse facility to house over 2.8 million whisky casks. 

Their current facility on Begg Farm already has 42 storage units at 60,000 square metres with a further 4 under construction. Diageo wants to expand that number to a total of 49 storage units to house up to 2.8 million casks of whisky.

Construction of these storage warehouses started over 10 years ago with the first set opening in 2013. The 545-acre complex was purchased by the whisky giant as part of a £150 million project. Since then, there have been 150 to 200 construction workers on-site at any one time working on warehouses designed specifically for the storage of maturing whisky.

kirkcaldy fife scotland

Why does Diageo need so much warehouse space?

To be considered a Scotch whisky a liquid called Make New Spirit needs to be stored in a cask for 3 years. In order to get the unique flavours associated with certain whisky brands different casks are used, or the casks are stored for more than 3 years. 

So, with Diageo being the biggest whisky producer in the world significant warehouse space is needed for the storage process. 

In fact, Diageo own over 100 Scotch whisky brands including:

  • Johnnie Walker
  • Buchanan’s
  • J&B
  • Grand Old Parr
  • The Singleton
  • Talisker
  • Lagavulin
  • Haig Club

To take their best-selling brand into consideration, in 2022 Johnnie Walker sold 21 million nine-litre cases. All those cases had to be stored in casks for over 3 years in a Diageo facility.

Why build the new facility in Fife?

The original plan used this area for handling and processing casks. However, changes in operating systems have allowed for three new warehouses to be constructed. 

Diageo first made the decision for further expansion of the facility last year and after a PAN application and a 12-week community consultation have to now present the plan to Fife councillors. 

The Fife area has a rich history of whisky production. One of the Diageo brands, Haig Club, dates their whisky production back to 1627 and the Cameronbridge Distillery was founded in 1824.

In modern times, Cameronbridge Distillery is the world’s biggest Scotch whisky distillery. On top of this Diageo Leven is one of the world’s largest bottling plants. Both are in Fife. 

Diageo has invested heavily in Scotland in recent years and has reaped the benefits of that investment. They saw a big rise in profits in 2021 and expect to see more in the future with the way the whisky industry is developing.

In Scotland alone, Diageo operates at 50 different sites, employs 4,000 people and produces 50 million cases of alcohol a year which is shipped to over 180 countries worldwide. This increased investment in their Fife facilities shows the direction the whisky industry is heading.

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