Up to 100 new apprentice and graduate trainee positions will be created, mostly in rural Scotland
Drinks giant Diageo has announced plans to invest more than £1 billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years.
The investment, which Diageo says is being made to meet surging global demand for Scotch whisky, will see the company build a new distillery in Speyside or the Highlands as well as new warehousing.
Diageo said it may also look to build a second new distillery if demand for Scotch whisky continues to rise globally.
The company's own Scotch whisky brands, which include the Johnnie Walker blend whisky as well as 28 malt whiskies, have enjoyed sales growth of more than 50 per cent in the past five years.
Scotch whisky sales are expected to top £3 billion in the current financial year.
Details of the first phase of the five-year investment plan are expected to be released later this year, though Diageo said it expects to create around 100 new jobs across various expansion drives.
The bulk of those new positions will be apprentice and graduate trainee roles, most of which will be made in rural areas.
The company estimates the construction aspects of the expansion will create 250 new construction jobs each year of the five-year investment programme, as well as adding around 500 new jobs in the wider economy.
Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo.
“Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland's most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1 billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth.
“This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories.”
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:”The Scottish Government recognises the key role of the Scotch Whisky industry in our food and drink strategy and we look forward to working constructively with Diageo to take forward their investment plans in Scotland.
“This major decision by Diageo provides continued evidence that new private sector investment will help to deliver economic recovery and demonstrates that Scotland is very much open for business and investment.”