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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diageo plc
Type Public (LSE: DGE
Founded 1997
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people Franz Humer, chairman
Paul Walsh, CEO
Industry Beverages
Products Alcoholic beverages: Beer, wine, spirits
Revenue £12,283 million (2009)[1]
Operating income £2,443 million (2009)[1]
Net income £1,725 million (2009)[1]
Employees 20,000 (2009)[2]

Diageo plc (LSE: DGE, NYSEDEO) is the largest multinational beer, wine and spirits company in the world.[3] The word Diageo was formed from the Latin dia (day) and the Greek geo (World), symbolising the use of the company's brands every day, everywhere.[4] Its head office is located in the City of Westminster in London.[5] The company has American Depositary Receipts listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange where it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Diageo was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc.[6] The creation was driven by the two executives Anthony Greener and Philip Yea at Guinness plus George Bull and John McGrath of Grand Metropolitan.

In 2002 Diageo sold the Burger King fast food restaurant chain to a consortium led by US firm Texas Pacific for $1.5 billion.[7] Diageo also owned Pillsbury until 2000 when it was sold to General Mills.[8]

In December 2003, Diageo provoked controversy over its decision to change its Cardhu brand Scotch whisky from a single malt to a vatted malt (also known as a pure malt) whilst retaining the original name and bottle style. Diageo took this action because it did not have sufficient reserves to meet demand in the Spanish market, where Cardhu had been successful. After a meeting of producers, Diageo agreed to make changes.[9]

In 2006, the Cardhu brand quietly changed back to being a single malt.[10]

In July 2009, Diageo announced that, after nearly 200 years of association with the town of Kilmarnock, they would be closing the Johnnie Walker blending and bottling plant [11] as part of restructuring to the business. This would make 700 workers unemployed and caused outrage from press, local people and politicians. A campaign against this decision was launched by the local SNP MSP Willie Coffey and Labour MP Des Browne. A petition was drawn up against the Diageo plans, which also involves the closure of the historic Port Dundas Grain Distillery in Glasgow.[12] Plans to kill a herd of roe deer on Diageo's Leven site have been controversial in Scotland.[13][14][15]

In February 2009 it was reported in the Guardian that the company had restructured itself so as to avoid paying tax in the U.K., despite much of its profits being generated in the U.K.[16]

Diageo is engaged in a tax scheme in the United States of America, commonly referred to as the "Rum Bailout" [17]

The National Puerto Rican Coalition plans to run a series of ads in New York City and Puerto Rico urging a boycott of Diageo-owned alcoholic drinks to protest the giant British-owned corporation’s controversial production move of its Captain Morgan rum from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands.[18]


Pint of Guinness
Diageo global Crown Royal supply plant, Gimli, Manitoba, Canada

Diageo is the holding company for some of the most recognisable alcohol brands, including:[19]

Diageo is the world's biggest whisky producer with 28 malt distilleries and two grain distilleries. The company operates the Scotch whisky distilleries [20] of Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol (situated at Pitlochry), Caol Ila, Cardhu, Knockando, Glen Elgin, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Glen Ord, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker, Teaninich, Mannochmore, Mortlach and Glenlossie, which are sold not only under their own name but used to make the various blended scotch whiskies sold by the company, and owns the stock of many closed distilleries such as Port Ellen, Rosebank, Brora, Convalmore, Glen Albyn, North Brechin, Banff, and Linlithgow. The company have opened a new malt distillery adjacent to their maltings at Roseisle (1st new make spirit produced Spring 2009). This will be one of the largest malt distilleries in Scotland. The new building contains 14 traditional copper pot stills. An expansion programme is also underway at its Cameron Bridge Grain Distillery in Fife that will make it the largest grain distillery in Scotland. Diageo also owns the Port Dundas Grain Distillery in Glasgow, and jointly operates the North British Grain Distillery in Gorgie, Edinburgh, with The Edrington Group.

Diageo also distributes Unicum, its lighter-bodied variant Zwack and Jose Cuervo tequila products in North America. However, Cuervo operates as a separate company in Mexico and is not owned by Diageo. Similarly Grand Marnier is distributed by Diageo in many markets, including exclusively in Canada, and a deal was reached in 2009 to significantly expand this partnership in Europe.

Furthermore, Diageo owns the Gleneagles Hotel.


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