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First look inside transformed Singleton of Glen Ord visitor centre which adds to whisky tourism investment

Celebrity chef Tony Singh opened the new visitor centre
Celebrity chef Tony Singh opened the new visitor centre

A new-look visitor centre at one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries opens to the public this week as part of a major investment in whisky tourism.

The home of the Singleton of Glen Ord has been given a multi-million pound transformation by drinks giant Diageo.

It is part of the company’s £185 million investment in its Scottish visitor attractions, including a number in the Highlands and Islands.

Visitor centre is on NC500

The new centre at Glen Ord, built in Muir of Ord in 1838, opens as thousands of visitors are expected on the North Coast 500 tourist route.

As well as showcasing The Singleton single malts, the brand home will promote local Scottish food produce.

From Friday the public will be able to enjoy a tour and look around a shop, bar and delicatessen, featuring desserts from neighbouring Bad Girl Bakery.

The centre holds a Green Tourism Gold Award and Diageo also worked with Euan’s Guide, a disabled access charity, to make it more accessible.

Celebrity chef Tony Singh opened the new centre and created a special menu pairing with The Singleton of Glen Ord celebratory bottling, a special edition released to commemorate the opening.

Details of the menu can be found on the The Singleton Facebook page 

Whisky is a magnet for tourism

He said: “Scotland is rich with exceptional quality food and drink, and it is wonderful to see that being celebrated at the new home of The Singleton.

“Scotch whisky is the country’s leading export to the world and a magnet for international tourism.

“It is great for Scotland to see Scotch whisky brands like The Singleton making the connection between their delicious single malt and Scotland’s rich larder of local produce.”

Barbara Smith, managing director of Diageo’s Scotland Brand Homes, Tony Singh and Craig Mills, operations director NC500.

Glen Ord’s renovation is the fifth site to open as part of Diageo’s wider development of visitor facilities.

Already it has upgraded Glenkinchie in October 2020, Clynelish in April 2021 and Cardhu in June last year.

A state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh also opened last September.

New attractions to open in Skye and Islay

Transformed visitor attractions will open at Talisker Distillery on Skye, and Caol Ila on Islay, later this summer.

Barbara Smith, managing director of Diageo’s Scotland brand homes, said: “The Singleton is one of the most exciting single malt brands in the world and we are delighted to be opening the doors to the brand’s new home at Glen Ord Distillery.

“Our £185 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism is designed to put Scotland at the forefront of the global trend in food and drink tourism by giving consumers a truly world-class experience at our distilleries.

Inside the revamped visitor centre at Glen Ord distillery. Picture by Grant Anderson

“This just the start of an incredible summer of Scotch whisky investment, with Talisker and Caol Ila distillery’s also launching new visitor experiences, and we want to use that to build momentum in the recovery of Scottish tourism.”

Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Scotland is a world-leader in food and drink tourism and it’s fantastic to see Diageo and the whisky sector continuing to invest and innovate in visitor experiences.

“Every visitor to the country has to eat and drink, so providing unique and memorable experiences is invaluable in bolstering our international reputation as a land of food and drink.”

Visitor centre will become a favourite

North Coast 500 operations director Craig Mills also welcomed the new-look centre and said it will become a favourite with locals and tourists.

“The location makes it a fantastic option to either start or end your NC500 journey on.

“While passengers can enjoy their drams on site, the great inclusion of drivers’ packs ensure that nobody misses out, and samples can be savoured once safely parked up.”

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