PERNOD RICARD TO OPEN WHISKY DISTILLERY IN BUDDHIST HOLY PLACE IN CHINA
By David Ma
French spirits and wine giant Pernod Ricard has announced that it will build a malt whisky distillery in Emeishan in Sichuan province, scheduled to open in 2012.
Emeishan is one of the four holy places for Buddhism in China and is a popular tourist destination, featuring legendary Buddhist temples, scenic mountain treks and most important of all superb water source.
To be named Emeishan Malt Whisky Distillery, this will be the first of its kind in China which is run by an international spirits and wine group.
According to Pernod Ricard, the project “envisions an innovative approach to malt whisky making that celebrates the natural beauty of the climate in the region, renowned for its pristine water source and natural terroir”.
With a potential investment of RMB1billion (USD150 million), the 13-hectare distillery site will feature a state-of-the-art malt whisky distillation facility and an immersive visitor center.
The company aims at turning it into a world-class destination that will attract over 2 million tourists in the first decade of its opening.
The distillery will appoint a Chinese master distiller, the world’s first and aims at combining authentic whisky-making craftsmanship and local knowledge to create an iconic malt whisky.
Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia, Philippe Guettat, said: “The ground-breaking of the distillery signifies the beginning of a journey of innovation, expertise and dedication to craft a new, iconic malt whisky that embraces whisky history and heritage with a character unique to Chinese culture. It is both the symbol of our strong history with China after three decades of operation and the sign of our deep confidence into the future of international style spirits in this fascinating market.
“We’re proud to be part of China’s fabric and contributing to the sustainable growth of its economy and society, by transferring whisky-making expertise to the people, credibility to the region and the spirit of conviviality to visitors and consumers alike.”
“The decision to bring the iconic malt whisky from Emeishan Malt Whisky Distillery to the world stage demonstrates China’s burgeoning passion for the spirit and will showcase Pernod Ricard’s experience in creating and operating twenty of the world’s most prestigious whisky distilleries,” Guettat added.
The group has appointed Neri&Hu, China-based award-winning architects notable for their work for the New Shanghai Theatre. The company will design the distillery as a “new cultural icon that celebrates the local culture and the brand’s spirit of innovation - allowing people to discover the beauty of Emeishan through a new lens.”
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)
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