Diageo is investing US$18m in its Plainfield, Illinois brand technical and bottling facility, in a bid to meet demand for its vodka brand, Smirnoff.

The new facility, which will have additional processing and storage capacity and upgraded packaging lines, follows on the heels of Diageo's purchase of 36 acres of land adjacent to the facility in July 2007 for $13.9m.

The Plainfield expansion follows a number of global investments Diageo has made in recent months to capitalise on consumer growth for premium spirits products, including $1bn to construct a new Guinness brewery in Ireland, building its first new malt whisky distillery in Scotland and announcing an agreement in principle to acquire the Schenley Distillery and Bottling operation in Canada.

"In this time of economic uncertainty, we are pleased to make another significant investment in one of our key manufacturing facilities and simultaneously bolster Plainfield's local economy," said John Council, president, Diageo, Americas Supply. "With more than 300 Diageo employees working in the state of Illinois, we are committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work and this investment is a further testament to that."

Diageo's Plainfield brand technical and bottling facility, located just outside Chicago, produces around 12 million cases of spirits a year.