The accolade was awarded at Whisky Magazine’s annual Global Icons of Whisky awards.
The world’s leading premium drinks company and the largest producer of Scotch whisky was congratulated on “putting its money where its mouth is” with its £1billion investment in expansion of whisky production across Scotland.
Whisky Magazine Distiller of the Year is said to be judged by a panel of independent whisky commentators. The judging panel’s citation read: “Production capacity increased at many of its sites, an investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area and more expansion plans to come, increasing grain capacity, a raft of new expressions and building new distilleries – Diageo has been putting its money where its mouth is for its brands and the category, proving that with great size comes great responsibility.”
The overall award came after Diageo had been named Whisky Distiller of the Year in the Scottish category of the Icons of Whisky awards.
The award adds to the Distiller of the Year title that was given to Diageo by the US-based The Whisky Advocate magazine in December 2013, citing the company’s investment and commitment to its brands.
Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, who accepted the award on behalf of Diageo at the Global Icons ceremony, said: “I was delighted to accept on behalf of all my colleagues in Diageo whose commitment, vision, skill and sheer hard work makes everything possible.”
Recent distillery investment announcements are linked to the growth of key Scotch whisky brands. Glen Ord Distillery near Inverness will see its capacity doubled to support the Singleton of Glen Ord brand, which is said to be the fastest growing single malt in Asia. A major expansion investment at Mortlach Distillery in Speyside will support the launch of Mortlach as a global single malt brand later this year.
The company announced its £1billion Scotch whisky investment programme in June 2012. As well as the distillery expansions the company is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.
In January the company announced the latest phase of the investment with a £30million plan to double capacity at the iconic Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland, taking the company’s capital programme in the Highlands to around £150million.
Diageo says this adds to previous major investments by Diageo, including building a new malt whisky distillery at Roseisle in Speyside and a new state of the art cooperage at Cambus in Clackmannanshire.
Diageo makes the likes of Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch whisky brand, as well as a Bell’s, J&B, Buchanan’s and Old Parr. It also produces single malt whisky brands such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Cardhu and Dalwhinnie.