Work has finished on Pernod Ricard’s single malt whisky distillery in China which cost $150m. Now you can have a tour of this spectacular new facility (virtually.)

Hot on the heels of Diageo’s announcement of its own Chinese whisky distillery, it seems that Pernod Ricard’s single malt whisky distillery in China is finished, after just over two years. Called The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery, it’s in Emeishan in the Sichuan Province and shows a commitment of $150m by Pernod Ricard.

We are still waiting for final confirmation of technical details but from the virtual tour, you can see that it’s a spectacular facility in stone and concrete with more than a touch of Bond villain lair meets luxury spa about the place. You can take a tour here. There are eight stainless steel washbacks and two quite short stocky stills which appear to have come from Forsyths of Rothes with shell and tube condensers.

The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery

Ah Mr Ricard, I’ve been expecting you

Not just a distillery but a cultural icon

But this isn’t just a distillery. Oh no. Designed by Chinese architectural firm Neri&Hu, according to the press release, it is meant to be a “cultural icon.” The name Chuan “is a matrimony of two exquisite characters steeped in the local terroir and culture, with the “rich and layered” meaning of 叠 (the) and “river” in 川 (chuan) from Sichuan”. So now you know. There will also be a permanent art programme including “an installation by Zhan Wang, one of China’s most celebrated contemporary artists.” The visitor centre will open in 2023 and Pernod Ricard aims to attract two million tourists in its first ten years open.

As you’d expect from a new distillery, there’s the usual sustainability stuff. It aims to be carbon neutral, taking most of its energy from renewable sources and 100% of the waste water will be recycled. The distillery itself apparently made use of recycled material in its construction. 

We don’t know whether any barrels have been filled yet but according to Philippe Guettat, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia “our mission is to bring to life the most iconic malt whisky made in China.” It seems it’s very much going to be in a Scotch malt whisky style as the master distiller Yang Tao is working with his counterparts in Scotland. What all this means for the original Scotch whisky in the Chinese market is anyone’s guess. 

You can take the virtual tour here.