Napa Valley, Champaign, Roja – and Speyside

Napa Valley – plans to match profile in Speyside.

Moves to ensure that Speyside enjoys the same international status as the Napa Valley, Champaign and Roja has been launched by Moray’s political leaders.

Angus Robertson MP met with Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes at the firms London headquarters on Monday for talks on how the region can be given a higher profile on the world stage.

The Moray MP is now set to follow up by holding talks with the Chief Executive of Chivas Regal Laurent Lacassagne at the end of the month – and has already spoken to senior managers at the Edrikngton Group to learn more of their plans for a £100million development of the Macallan distillery.

“It is excellent that Mr Menezes has an interest in Speyside development and am grateful for his commitment to Scotland’s malt whisky heartland,” Mr Robertson said after the meeting.

He added: “There is a great future for everyone in the region and we must properly coordinate to make sure all is being done to the benefit of the industry, whisky brands and the locality.

“Speyside is one of the world’s leading food and drink regions and with the commitment of all partners at the highest level we can ensure we make the most of the opportunities.”

Mr Robertson is working with his Holyrood colleague Richard Lochhead MSP in an effort to significantly raise the profile of Moray’s leading industry around the world, with Mr Lochhead insisting that Speyside should enjoy the same international reputation as the Napa Valley, Champaign and Rioja.

Mr Lochhead said: “Discussions have taken place in recent years to properly coordinate different stakeholders in Speyside and hope that we can make significant progress with the involvement of all leading companies and agencies.

“The future is extremely bright for the whisky industry and Speyside in the years to come. By properly coordinating this we can ensure Speyside properly matches other leading food and drink regions like Napa Valley, Champaign and Rioja.”

Following Monday’s meeting a Diageo spokesman said: “As you would expect from the company that has committed £1billion in investment to Scotch whisky, we are naturally interested in the development of Speyside as well as Scotland as a whole.

“We look forward to hearing more about the future plans.”

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