Glenkinchie, The Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker
Experiential - Incorporating: audiovisual, graphic and object-based displays
BRC Imagination Arts
Diageo’s unprecedented £185 million investment into Scotland’s whiskey tourism industry coincides with the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling scotch whisky. As a part of this investment, BRC Imagination Arts partnered with Diageo to transform their existing Distillery Visitor Centres into Brand Homes that offer a sense of hospitality, joy and connection for a new generation of whiskey drinkers. In October 2020, Glenkinchie, the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker, became the first of a series of re-imagined Brand Homes to reopen to the public.Glenkinchie, ‘The Garden Distillery,’ includes a completely renovated brand home and new 35,000 sq. ft. garden inspired by East Lothian’s abundant natural lands, full of wildflowers and local wildlife. The creative team leaned into Glenkinchie’s identity as the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker, drawing from the garden of Scotland and the Distillery’s farm origin story. Glenkinchie’s flavour is reflected throughout the transformed brand home, which brings the outside indoors with floral motifs and lighter colours inspired by the natural landscape surrounding the Victorian red-brick distillery. The overall interior palette celebrates a warmer and more approachable design for visitors; moving away from tired whisky motifs and cliché's in order to be more inclusive and welcoming.Targeted to international and domestic tourists, as well as the local community, Glenkinchie beckons visitors to a journey of discovery, where they awaken their senses and explore the whisky’s natural environment and flavour influences. In addition to the renovation of the brand home’s interiors and exteriors, the distillery has introduced an updated whisky tour format and a series of interactive whisky tasting sessions. Among other highlights of the transformed Glenkinchie is The Generations Room, which brings to life the personal stories of the people behind Glenkinchie, and a new bar café that offers a variety of locally-sourced tasting platters, whisky serves, and cocktails.
The new visitor experience was awarded Scotland’s most prestigious Green Tourism Gold award, recognizing the site’s management, water and energy usage, and the processes put in place for waste, nature conservation, eco-tourism and accessibility. These efforts were noted and congratulated by UK Parliament as an example of excellence.Efforts to create a truly inclusive brand home include implementing accessibility measures in line with Euan’s Guide. Signage uses universal symbols and language-assist devices are available. The brand home and gardens are family-, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, and all experiences offer non-alcoholic options.