A Johnnie Walker collectible in the making

William M. Dowd photos

Drinks multinational Diageo's decision to close a distillery and a nearby packaging plant in Scotland will give collectors an opportunity to make a small investment.

The company's packaging plant in Kilmarnock, where the line of Johnnie Walker whiskies is completed, had been affixing labels and/or caps bearing the "Kilmarnock" name on every bottle since 1820.

That obviously will have to change, and the presence or absence of the "Kilmarnock" name will be an indicator to consumers of whether the whisky they are buying was pre- or post-closing.

A year before it would have marked its 200th anniversary, the Port Dundas Distillery in Glasgow will be closed.

Diageo announced plans to shutter the facility, in the process eliminating 140 of the 220 jobs. They are among the 900 jobs Diageo is eliminating across Scotland.

Diageo, which employs more than 4,000 people in the country, said work now handled at Port Dundas will be handled through expansion of its Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife.

The plant, located on a 21-acre site, supplies grain spirit for about 39 million liters of alcohol each year. It was rebuilt twice, after fires in 1903 and 1913. Production was halted during World War II, but re-started in 1945.

As far as the packaging plant in Kilmarnock, a 7% sales drop in the first quarter of the year forced cutbacks, Diageo says.

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