Huge whisky visitor centre could transform Frasers building in Edinburgh

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Diageo wants to create a seven-storey Johnnie Walker ‘visitor experience’ featuring rooftop bars in the west end of Princes Street.

An artist's impression of the new centre

Drinks giant Diageo has submitted plans for a new seven-storey whisky visitor centre in the heart of Edinburgh.

The company plans to create a new Johnnie Walker “visitor experience” in the former Frasers department store at the west end of Princes Street as part of its £150 million investment in whisky tourism.

It would include a new store setup in the building, rooftop bars, an events space and a bar academy, which would provide training and employment opportunities for people out of work, as well as working to improve standards in the hospitality sector.

Diageo, together with the building owners Parabola, has submitted a formal planning application to Edinburgh City Council that pledges to preserve and restore the property’s historical features.

The site of the planned new Johnnie Walker visitor centre in Princes Street (Jane Barlow/PA)

David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “We are incredibly excited to be able to submit our plans for the Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh.

“The location is one of Edinburgh’s most exceptional landmark buildings and we plan to restore it to its former glory as a cornerstone of the city and a thriving part of its cultural and social life.

“We have the most passionate and skilled whisky-makers in the world here in Scotland and we want to celebrate their craft and everything that is great about Scotland and whisky.”

Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo’s global Scotch whisky director, said it was setting out to “create a flagship attraction that will bring people to Scotland from the four corners of the world”.

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