THE JOHNNIE WALKER STORY
The story of Johnnie Walker begins – naturally enough – with the man who gave our whisky his name.
The year was 1819 and John Walker’s father had just died. A tough start for a humble farm lad, you might think, but there was always something special about John. A glint in his eye, a fire in his belly, a spring in step perhaps.
The world in those days wasn’t the friendliest of places and John knew it. No time to grieve. There was a living to be made.
Within the year, the family farm had been sold and the money used to set him with his own grocer’s shop in the thriving local town of Kilmarnock. It was a smart move. John had a natural gift for business.
He also had a genius for whisky. In those days, most grocers stocked a line of single malts, but they were never all that consistent. This wasn’t good enough for John, who started blending them together so his whisky tasted just as good every time. It proved an extremely popular addition to the inventory.
When John finally passed away after a full and prosperous life in 1857, he left his son, Alexander, with a very healthy business.
However, Alexander and George renamed their successful new range of whiskies after the colours of their distinctive labels. Johnnie Walker Red Label and Johnnie Walker Black Label were born.
It was around this time that the leading young illustrator of the day, Tom Browne, sketched an idea for a logo on the back of a menu during lunch. Alexander and George adopted the ‘Striding Man’ immediately. At a stroke, John Walker the Victorian grocer became Johnnie Walker, the Edwardian dandy.
By the end of the 20th Century, the pioneering Johnnie Walker Red Label and iconic Johnnie Walker Black Label joined by the pinnacle of the blender’s art, Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Our award-winning range continues to grow, with the addition of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum Label.
Johnnie Walker is the biggest whisky brand in the world. Furthermore, its slogan everywhere adopted and embraced its slogan. Moreover, as a rallying cry for progress, as encouragement in adversity, as a joyful expression of optimism and as the best piece of advice you’re ever likely to hear.
Blended Scotch Whisky
The blending of Scotch Whisky is both an art and a science. For Johnnie Walker, this is a depth of skill, dedication and knowledge of whisky types that stretches back nearly two centuries to the earliest blends of the founder himself.
Today, Master Blender Jim Beveridge is the custodian of this extraordinary legacy. Moreover, he is a unique authority on blending. Furthermore, he calls upon the largest stocks of Single Grain Scotch Whisky and Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the world. He has an intimate understanding not only of the character and traits of each whisky in his care – from the ingredients used to the treatment of the casks – but also how they combine and react when brought together.