The Fascinating Story of Johnnie Walker Whisky
On July 25, 1805, on Todriggs Farm in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland, the legendary, original John Walker was born. On the west side of the island, the farm was not far from Glasgow. John’s father died in 1819, and the family farm, where Johnnie had spent his first fourteen years, was sold. Even though he was only 15 years old at the time, the funds from the sale were utilized to buy a grocery store in Kilmarnock. After a brief period of learning his new trade, John assumed full control of his booming company.
Despite the fact that his main business was selling groceries, he became regarded as the go-to source for tea, premium wines, and spirits over time. He offered a variety of alcoholic beverages, such as rum, brandy, and gin, but it was his own private label whiskey that made him famous in the area. Single malts were carried by the majority of shop owners at the time, and their flavor and texture were uneven. Mr. Walker, being a shrewd businessman, blended his whiskey, allowing him to retain consistent flavour quality in each bottle.
Of course, the corporation has continued to expand, with the addition of Johnnie Walker’s Blue, Double Black, Gold, and Platinum labels. The whiskey is no longer distilled in Kilmarnock, and the old factory has been dismantled as part of a huge worldwide company’s portfolio of brands. The robust, Scottish spirit of the original Johnnie Walker can still be found in every drink, even if the facilities are no longer available.
Johnnie Walker’s 200-Year History
The new Johnnie Walker experience, which is part of a £185 million Diageo investment in Scotch whisky tourism, will take tourists through Johnnie Walker’s 200-year history and take them on a trip through Scotland’s flavours. Visitors will be able to enjoy breath-taking views of Edinburgh Castle and the city skyline from rooftop bars.
Johnnie Walker recently announced the arrival of four new limited editions Johnnie Walkers on retailers throughout the world. Each limited-edition release, which includes a new bottle design and three newly created whiskies, is a celebration of John’s extraordinary journey, pioneering spirit, and commitment to excellence that began in those early days.
The legendary Johnnie Walker Red Label, Johnnie Walker Black Label, and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve whiskies have also received three new limited-edition bottles. Each is a vibrant and eye-catching reinterpretation of the original Johnnie Walker square bottle, appropriate for the 200th Anniversary.
The Discovery Channel will run a feature documentary made by Oscar-nominated director Anthony Wonke next month that examines how Johnnie Walker came to be regarded as a cultural icon. And Canongate Books has just released A Long Stride by Nicholas Morgan, a book that tells the incredible story of how Johnnie Walker became the world’s most popular Scotch.
Here are some of the key milestones of the company:
YearMilestones1820Opening of the John Walker’s grocery shop.1857John’s son Alexander takes over the business following John’s death and transforms the company.The 1860sCreation of the first commercial blend ‘Old Highland Whisky’ and introduction of the slanted labels.The 1870sFirst to produce whisky in square bottles instead of regular round bottles.1906Started production of White, Red, and Black Label variants.1908A renowned cartoonist Tom Browne drew the ‘Striding Man’ figure, and the business formally adopts the name, Johnnie Walker.1920Availability of Johnnie Walker in over 120 countries.1934Supplied whisky to the royal household: John Walker & Sons granted a Royal Warrant by King George V.1945 to 1955Upsurge in the exports 115 percent to just over 1 million cases.1982The appearance of Johnnie Walker in the original Blade Runner movie.1992Launched Johnnie Walker Blue Label — an exquisite combination of Scotland’s rarest and most exceptional whiskies.1999Launched the first-ever Johnnie Walker global advertising campaign ‘Keep Walking’.1999–2007Regular appearances of the Johnnie Walker bottles in The Sopranos, including an episode in which Salvatore Bonpensiero gives a bottle of Johnnie Walker Gold Label as a gift.2005Launched Johnnie Walker Green Label — crafted from a palette of Speyside, Highland, Lowland, and Island malts matured for at least 15 years.2007Launched Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. This is a tribute to the harmonious partnership of Speyside and Highland whiskies, with just a hint of smoldering embers from the West Coast.2013Sold 20 million cases of Johnnie Walker for the first time.2017The appearance of Johnnie Walker in the Blade Runner sequel Blade Runner 2049.2018Collaboration of Johnnie Walker with HBO to launch White Walker by Johnnie Walker.2018Announcement of the biggest single investment in Scotch whisky tourism by Diageo includes the creation of a new state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience based in Edinburgh.2019Dr. Jim Beveridge — Johnnie Walker Master Blender — received an OBE for services to Scotch.2020Tasted all six Johnnie Walker variants at the International Spirits Challenge 2020 and received gold medals.2020Planned to release the new environmentally friendly paper bottle. These bottles might debut in early 2021 to be the world’s first 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits’ bottle.
6 Mind-Blowing Facts About Whiskey
- The same name in Scottish Gaelic is uisge beatha. ‘Uisge’ was mispronounced time and time again, and eventually became ‘whisky’!
- The average measure of whisky contains just 64 calories — fewer than a banana
- One large oak tree is said to yield enough wood for approximately three 60-gallon casks.
- Kikori is a Japanese whisky made from 100 percent rice.
- “Whiskey” is a Gaelic word that means “water of life.”
- A whiskey company once gave out branding irons as part of a sales promotion, resulting in some customers inevitably requiring emergency surgery.