Premium drinks company Diageo is holding the second edition of its annual Whisky Summit in China this weekend, bringing together over 500 industry experts, business partners and Scotch lovers.
China is the largest alcohol market in the world and Scotch whisky exports to China grew by 45% to £27m in the first half of 2017, according to figures from the Scotch Whisky Association.
At the 2-day summit Diageo will showcase all the whiskies from its 27 distilleries in operation in Scotland. Attendees will enjoy masterclasses from whisky experts like Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Georgie Crawford, Lagavulin Distillery Manager and acclaimed whisky writers Charles MacLean and Dave Broom. The summit will also be attended by famous Chinese scotch whisky gurus Steven Lin and Sam Lu.
Sam Fischer, Diageo’s president Greater China and Asia said: “I am honoured to open the Diageo China Whisky Summit for the second year running. Diageo is the global leader in scotch whisky and our ambition is to make scotch the number one international spirit category in China.
“Our Chinese scotch business is on a strong growth trajectory. We are beating the competition, having recently extended our leadership in the super deluxe scotch segment, and we are accelerating performance in the single malts category with Singleton. We are also the fastest growing player in the premium segment and are driving share and attracting new consumers with innovations like Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch and Haig Club Clubman.
“Scotch has an exciting future in China and I am confident Diageo is well placed to continue to drive the growth of the category and establish its leadership.”
Mark Edwards, general manager, Diageo China commented: “The Diageo China Whisky Summit is one of the major initiatives we have kicked off to drive scotch category awareness and excitement about Diageo’s scotch portfolio. Scotch is vibrant in China and Diageo is well positioned to ride on the trend with our unrivalled. selection of brands.”
Sarah Dickson, Scotch Whisky Association global affairs director, added: “Some £4bn of scotch is shipped across the world each year, making it the UK’s biggest food and drink export, and a vast contributor to the country’s economy.
“In the first six months of this year, demand for scotch in China increased as the economy grew, with direct exports up 45% to £27m. Tourism is another important part of the scotch whisky industry and last year 1.7m visits were made to distilleries in Scotland, with many coming from China. We are confident China’s relationship with scotch will continue to strengthen in the years to come.”