Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers is investing $88m to upgrade sustainable distillation at Speyside single malt distilleries Aberlour and Miltonduff.
The distillery expansions are expected to grow the whisky business’s total production by 14 million litres of alcohol per annum.
The Aberlour distillery will see its production capacity double to 7.8 million litres of alcohol per annum helping support the “global demand” for the brand.
The distillery will also boast an upgraded visitor centre to draw more whisky fans to the area and boost local tourism. A new still house will be equipped with large windows providing visitors with views into the nearby woods and the River Spey.
Miltonduff’s expansion will consist of a new sustainable distillery built next to the existing facility, including a bio plant and evaporator, and will add 10 million litres of alcohol per annum to the total production capacity.
With the Miltonduff single malt being one of the foundations of Ballantine’s blends and a key component of other blended whiskies in the Chivas Brothers portfolio, this increased capacity will help accelerate Ballantine’s pace of growth, which in HY22 results saw global sales rise by +29%.
Both sites are expected to be operating at full production capacity by mid-2025.
“Scotch has demonstrated its resilience as a category over the past few challenging years and in the process has opened new avenues for growth,” Jean-Etienne Gourgues, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers said.
“This expansion will allow us to increase our volume to capitalise on the increased demand and interest in Scotch, but also supports our drive to reduce emissions in line with our sustainability ambitions. We’re once again betting big on the future of Scotch so we can bring in new consumers to the category and continue to shape a sustainable future of whisky.”
The investment is expected to accelerate Chivas Brothers’ goal of reaching carbon neutral distillation by 2026 with the installation of new bio plants and high-efficiency Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) fan technology for pot still distillation across both sites.
This mechanism enables a major energy recovery by compressing the vapor which then rises in temperature and is sent back to heat the stills during the distillation process.
Last year, the company announced plans to roll out MVR technology across all viable sites in its distillery portfolio by 2026, following a pilot study at its Glentauchers distillery which resulted in energy reductions of 90% on a single pot still there.