Diageo India, the country’s leading beverage alcohol company announced an investment of Rs 45 crore for its state-of-the-art Craft and Innovation Hub in Ponda, Goa. This is in line with the company’s strategy to accelerate transformational innovation and strengthen its Craft and premium portfolio. The Craft and Innovation Hub was inaugurated by Subhash Shirodkar, Honourable Minister, Water Resource Development, Co-Operation and Provedoria, Government of Goa.
The Craft and Innovation Hub, spread across 4 acres, offers robust, end-to-end capabilities addressing various requirements such as distillation capabilities for malt, gin and rum; maturation infrastructure and blending capability for spirits; an automated bottling and packaging line for craft spirits and a modern warehouse for incoming and finished products. In addition, it will host a one-of-a-kind Consumer Experience Centre. When fully operational with a capacity of 20,000 cases a month, the Hub will employ 250 people locally. This investment demonstrates Diageo India’s dedication to long-term research with a focus on driving Grain-to-Glass sustainability, nurturing the craft spirits ecosystem in India as well as continued commitment to the state of Goa.
Furthering Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, 10-year ESG action plan, the Hub leverages 100% renewable energy for distillation. In addition, more than 40% of the operations are powered by in-house renewable electricity generated by the solar plant and steam turbine. Over the last two years, the Distillery has made a significant improvement of over 45% in water use efficiency through various water conservation, process improvement and utility efficiency processes.
In line with the Company’s philosophy of giving back to the community, Diageo India also announced the launch of an employability-linked skills training programme in association with the Skill Development Mission of Government of Goa. This programme will train 1,000 local youth over 3 years for employment/self-employment roles in the hospitality, tourism and allied industries. Over 300 hours of skills-based training focusing on the holistic development of the learners by Academia and Industry professionals will be provided. Post completion of the programme, based on individual performance and market requirements, placement and entrepreneurial support would be provided along with Industry/Government approved certification.
Hina Nagarajan, managing director and chief executive officer, Diageo India said, “Goa is a hotbed for Craft, demand for which is growing rapidly both in India and globally, among consumers who are keen to further discover and enjoy fine spirits. Today we celebrate another significant step forward; the launch of the Craft and Innovation Hub in Goa, which builds upon our local insights and combines those with Diageo’s expertise to delight the next generation of consumers. Our Hub will serve as an incubator for select start-ups, providing them with sophisticated infrastructure to build their offerings. We are excited about the innovative possibilities this facility could bring not just for us, but the entire ecosystem as well.”
Subhash Shirodkar, Honourable Minister, Water Resource Development, Co-Operation and Provedoria, Government of Goa during his address said, “Congratulations to Diageo India for the launch of the Craft and Innovation Hub in Ponda. The Company’s efforts to promote skills development and employability in Goa by training 1,000 local youth is laudable. This technologically advanced Industrial setup demonstrates Goa’s potential as an export Hub. The State Government is pleased to extend our support to Diageo India.”
The company has a 52-year-old relationship with Ponda in Goa with the acquisition of Kesarval Beverages in 1970 which was renamed as McDowell’s and Company Limited and its subsequent acquisition by United Spirits Limited. The company recently acquired a strategic minority stake in Goa-based, emerging craft-gin company, Nao Spirits & Beverages Private Limited, the makers of award-winning brands ‘Hapusa’ and ‘Greater Than.’ The Hub will further strengthen Diageo India’s contribution to Goa’s economic and social goals while continuing to be a key centre for exporting its reputed brands globally.