Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Diageo starts £86m expansion of Fife bottling plant

Image caption Some 150 jobs will be created during the construction phase in Fife

Drinks giant Diageo has started groundwork on the expansion of its bottling plant in Fife.

The £86m expansion is expected to boost production at the Leven facility to about 30m cases a year and create about 400 jobs.

Building company Rok estimated 150 jobs would be created during construction.

Diageo said the project would offset the loss of 700 jobs at the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow and the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock.

The Johnnie Walker brand has been linked with Kilmarnock since 1820.

It is the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world.

In September Diageo announced it was going ahead with the closure of the bottling plant in Kilmarnock despite strong protests and government intervention.

Those involved in the campaign to keep the plants open described Diageo's decision as "catastrophic"

The Fife expansion project includes a new bottling hall along with other new buildings and infrastructure for roads, drainage and utilities.

Andy Mallice, Rok's managing director for Scotland, said the work in Fife was a "welcome boost" to the construction industry.

"We feel very fortunate to be part of an investment-and-build programme that will help secure the long-term competitiveness of Scotland's drinks industry," he said.

The new expanded facility should be operational by the summer of next year, the company reported.

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