Drinks business Diageo plans to invest more than £1 billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years, creating hundreds of jobs.
The company intends to build a major new malt distillery as part of the investment, alongside a programme of major expansion at a number of its existing distilleries.
It also plans to invest in substantial new warehousing capacity to house the millions of additional litres of Scotch whisky which the distillation boost will produce. The firm said that the plans will create more than 100 new Diageo jobs across Scotland, mainly in rural areas.
It also intends to take on around 100 apprentices and graduate trainees over the term of the investment, as well as encouraging its suppliers and construction contractors to focus on youth job creation and apprenticeships.
In addition it is expected that an average of 250 construction jobs will be created for each year of the investment period.
Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said: "This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland's most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
"We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1 billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth."
Diageo said that detailed plans will also be developed for a second new distillery which will be built if global demand for Scotch is sustained at expected levels. The location of the new distillery has not yet been decided. Diageo also plans to commit £5 million over five years towards community initiatives as part of its sustainability and responsibility programme in Scotland.
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said the announcement was a "huge boost for the industry". He said: "This investment is a sign of the commercial success of the whisky industry and I welcome the fact it will create hundreds of jobs in Scotland."
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The investment in new distilleries and warehousing capacity is a vivid illustration of the positive and optimistic outlook for demand in the sector. This major decision by Diageo provides continued evidence that new private sector investment will help to deliver economic recovery and demonstrates that Scotland is very much open for business and investment."