Pernod Ricard opens its first whisky distillery, 叠川 The Chuan, in China

The whisky producer is the first international spirits and wines group to establish a malt whisky distillery in the country.

叠川 The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery is located in Emeishan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to Mount Emei, stunning views and pristine natural water source – in baijiu-producing province Sichuan.

The Chuan is designed by award-winning China-based architectural firm Neri&Hu and aims to become a new world-class destination for whisky, arts and culture.

The distillery’s name merges two characters steeped in the local terroir and culture, with the “rich and layered” meaning of 叠 (the) and “river” in 川 (chuan) from Sichuan.

According to Pernod Ricard, The Chuan celebrates the duality between the mountain and water, strength and softness of its whisky and the origin and outcome of its malt whisky distillery.

With an investment of 1 billion RMB (150 million USD) over a decade, the distillery reflects Pernod Ricard’s commitment to China with an ambition to bring new products and experiences to its consumers and contribute to the sustainable growth of the economy and society.

Philippe Guettat, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia, says, “Pernod Ricard has been privileged to play our part in China’s dynamic development for over 30 years. We consider it our mission to bring to life the most iconic malt whisky made in China with pride, leveraging the expertise we have as a market leader.

“Our master distiller, Yang Tao has been working with our heritage master distillers in Scotland to bring the most authentic whisky making know-how into China, while leveraging the pristine water source of Emei, renowned for its utmost quality.”

The whisky production buildings house a fermentation room where malted barley is fermented with natural water from Emeishan, and the distillation area with two copper stills handmade by pot still experts, Forsyths.

The distillery upholds Pernod Ricard’s commitment to nurturing local terroir and circular making under its 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility Roadmap.

It also contributes to carbon neutrality by sourcing 100% renewable electricity, minimising the use of natural gas, and offsetting remaining emissions in a Sichuan biogas programme.

100% of wastewater on site will be processed and the distillery takes on a local preservation approach in using mostly recycled and local materials in its construction to reduce its carbon footprint.

The site will also be home to a permanent art programme. An installation called Fractal Structure – Infinite Shan Shui by contemporary artist Zhan Wang already resides on the site.

With the visitor centre set to open in 2023, the distillery aims to draw two million tourists in its first decade.

Guettat adds: “From its refined products to design, 叠川The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery will set new standards for single malt whisky and immersive experiences for both Sichuan and China. We look forward to bringing The Chuan and the spirit of conviviality from China to the world.”

Click here to take a virtual tour of 叠川 The Chuan.