Johnnie Walker

It all started with the purchase of a grocery shop in Kilmarnock. John Walker started by selling everything and created a name for his shop. When he died his son Alexander Walker took over the family business. It wasn’t until the 1860’s when Alexander decided to ship the whisky that his father and he had made abroad. Being the ambitious entrepreneur that he was, Alexander struck a deal with the captains of the ships that transported his whiskey; he created a commission deal for the captains to become brand ambassadors to spread the word of Johnnie Walker. In 1876 Johnnie Walkers whiskey got the recognition it deserves but 1000 of miles away in Australia and in 1887 they gave exclusive rights to Rolfes Nebel and co to sell Johnnie Walker in South Africa which provided explosive growth.

In 1893 they acquire the Cardhu Distillery to keep the fantastic single malt from competitors and the gain the constant supply of exceptional Cardhu whiskey. In 1906 Johnnie walker had three different brands the white label, red label and black label and in 1908 the Walker brothers meet cartoonist Tom Browne who sketches them the walking man, the icon that symbolises Johnnie Walker. The icon was chosen because of the imagery it portrays; of forward thinking and always moving into the future.

After 100 years of business, Alexander ii creates a blend to celebrate, Johnnie Walker gold label is born. In 1932 Alexander ii creates the swing. Its unique bottle shape was made to cope with the waves of the sea, perfect for transport. 1934 Johnnie Walker receives their first royal warrant and in 1966 they receive royal recognition from the queen and an award for export achieved. 1989 saw the Johnnie Walker brand become the proud sponsors of the golf tournament, the Johnnie Walker classic. In 1991 Johnnie Walkers launches premier, a rare blend of their most treasured stocks of long-aged malts, some of which are no longer possible to create.

The birth of Blue Label, in 1992 Johnnie Walker releases their ultimate whiskey as they only using the rarest single malts to create the Blue Label. 1997 sees the birth of Green Label, which is created by using malt whiskies without a grain base and the year 2008 sees the creation of Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V, created by blend whiskies that date back to the reign of King George the V.

That is the story of how Johnnie Walker was created and how they have expanded and built their empire, all starting from one single step.

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