Johnnie Walker is the world’s number one Scotch whisky brand with its distinctive square bottles and iconic tilted labels – a familiar sight in bars across the world. For almost 200 years Johnnie Walker has been there each time people have raised a glass to actions and achievements, big and small, toasting the promise and potential each new day brings.
Like so many British brands with a strong heritage, Johnnie Walker was born of humble origins. In 1820 John Walker opened a small grocer’s store in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock and began to blend whisky to create a better consistency and richer flavours to sell in his shop.
Walker’s blended whisky was a great success and after his death, his son Alexander, took over the business, exporting whisky all over the world (the square bottle design was created to reduce breakages as they were transported to the four corners of the globe).
It was Alexander who added the famous tilted labels, angled at precisely 24 degrees, distinguishing the brand from its competition. In due course, the company passed to Alexander’s sons, Alexander and George, who began the tradition of naming the whiskies after the colour of the labels, starting with Johnnie Walker Red Label (which went on to become the world’s bestselling whisky) and Johnnie Walker Black Label. They also commissioned leading illustrator of the day, Tom Browne, to create the famous striding man logo.
Johnnie Walker is a brand born of passion. The promise of progress is what drives it and has done for nearly 200 years, the striding man motif is reflective of this. In 1934 John Walker & Sons was granted a Royal Warrant
by King George V and, as the 20th century progressed, the pioneering brand established itself as part of global culture. It has been immortalised in song lyrics, on the silver screen and has been sipped by socialites and statesmen everywhere.
But Johnnie Walker wasn’t just the preserve of the great and good: it quickly became the whisky for toasting special occasions, big and small; raising a glass to today and the promise of the future. Over the years, there have been a number of additions to the brand’s range of award-winning whiskies.
The end of the 20th century, for example, saw the introduction of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, an exquisite blend of some of Scotland’s rarest and most exceptional whiskies. Neat or on the rocks? With a splash of soda or served with a glass of ice cold water? There is no ‘correct’ way to enjoy Johnnie Walker, just as long as long
as you do enjoy it. Once considered something drunk solo and reflectively, Johnnie Walker whisky is now enjoyed at festivals and parties across the UK as groups relax and celebrate special moments with a Johnnie and Ginger. Toast to every step forward. Keep walking.