Fife Diageo bottling plant officially opens

Johnnie Walker whisky bottles Diageo is moving into fast-growing drinks markets in emerging economies

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The Fife whisky bottling plant that replaced much of the capacity lost when the Johnnie Walker plant closed in Kilmarnock has been officially opened

At Diageo's Leven plant near Kirkcaldy, Tricia Marwick, the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer and local MSP, performed the ceremony.

One shift from the 400 staff at the new bottling hall were invited to attend.

The £86m project includes six bottling lines, in addition to the existing capacity at a neighbouring hall.

The plant is also used for Diageo's vodka and gin brands.

The new Leven hall has been full operational since July, packaging more than 5.2m cases. With maximum orders ahead of the festive season, the site is currently producing more than one million per week.

In addition to the 900 full-time workers, it's taken on another 350 temporary staff to meet peak demand.

The new plant is bottling Johnnie Walker, Old Parr, Dimple, Cardhu and The Singleton single malt.

Attached to the hall is a luxury products facility for packaging the widening range of premium whiskies

The expansion of the existing Leven bottling site was announced in 2009 amid controversy, as Diageo closed down its Kilmarnock bottling plant with long-standing links to the Johnnie Walker brand. That move cost 700 jobs in Ayrshire. More than 40 people took up the offer to move to Fife for work with the company.

Diageo has also invested heavily in its nearby Cameronbridge distillery, as global demand for Scotch whisky has grown fast.

Ms Marwick commented: "Diageo's investment of more than £200m represents security for a first class workforce and a vital manufacturing base".

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