Johnnie’s walking into new markets

Stephen Beard Feb 16, 2007

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

BOB MOON: What the world needs now is more malt whiskey. So says the world’s biggest whiskey producer. The company behind Johnnie Walker and other leading brands says there’s soaring demand. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard joins us from London. So distill this down for us, if you will, Stephen. What’s the plan?

STEPHEN BEARD: The plan is for Diageo, the company we used to call Guinness, to build its first major malt whisky distillery in Scotland for 100 years. This is going to increase the company’s malt whisky making capacity by 15 percent. That’s going to add another 10 million liters a year to the company’s current output of 60 million liters of malt whisky a year.

MOON: And one has to wonder where is all that extra booze gonna flow?

BEARD: Down millions of throats, middle-class throats I should add, in Asia and South America. This does indicate a kind of interesting shift in tastes. Diageo has in the past decade or so built small grain distilleries, but this is its first malt distillery for a century. And this shows there is this growing demand for better-class scotch from burgeoning middle classes in rapidly emerging economies like China and India and also a number of South American countries.

MOON: Gives whole new meaning to the phrase tapping into a new market. Thank you Stephen Beard in London.

BEARD: OK Bob.

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