2020 marks 200 years since John Walker, first threw open the doors to a grocer’s shop in Scotland and began a journey that has led Johnnie Walker to being the biggest Scotch whisky brand in the world today.
The first bottle of Johnnie Walker was sold in 1820 at a small grocery in Kilmarnock, Scotland. His spark, vision and entrepreneurial fire were the impetus not only to the business but ultimately to a new future for Scotch whisky.
Today, Kenya Breweries Limited kicks off Johnnie Walker’s 200th Birthday celebration to take place all through the month as they invite all Kenyans to raise a toast for the next 200yrs through exciting offers and brand experiences, encouraging the Keep Walking spirit and pushing boundaries to taste more out of life.
Speaking in Nairobi, EABL Marketing and Innovations Director, Graham Villiers-Tuthill, said that Johnnie Walker is such an iconic brand, with a truly special story, and it is an honour to be celebrating 200 years since it all began.
“For two centuries whisky has been at the heart of the journey Johnnie Walker has been on and part of every step the brand has taken along the way. Making whisky that tastes amazing – that thrills your senses – is still the driving passion. So, of course, whisky itself will be at the very centre of Johnnie Walker’s 200th celebrations that we will hero through our product, the steps we have taken to get to where we are today.”
Mr Graham further added that “In Kenya, the brand has been in the market since 1950’s. Johnnie Walker is truly a brand that has stood the test of time and continues to push boundaries across cultures, borders, languages, and tastes.
This 200-year milestone allows us to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come already, as well as what more we want to achieve in the next 200 years. Part of our commitment is to use our 200th celebrations as an opportunity to recognise the amazing work bartenders do in giving people the best possible whisky experiences – and support them as much as we possibly can.
In the coming year, amongst other things, we will invest more in bartenders training and well-being through our World Class and Diageo Bar Academy programs. We believe that the future of whisky is literally in the hands of the people who serve it.”
Today, Johnnie Walker whisky is sold in over 180 countries and is the best-selling Scotch whisky in the world. In Kenya, the brand has contributed to the overall sales growth for EABL premium spirit category.
“We’re seeing a new generation of spirits drinkers emerging and we want to welcome them into the world of Scotch. Over the years unwritten rules have evolved in the world of Scotch, creating barriers to people’s enjoyment of the richness of flavor that exists in Scotch. Johnnie Walker has thrived for two centuries by continually challenging these unwritten rules and expanding the possibilities that exist in whisky. Surprising highballs, fresh twists on classic cocktails,” said Ms Flavia Othim, EABL Head of Spirit.
We intend to use our 200th celebration campaign as an opportunity to continue to push boundaries in the world of whisky and invite more people to discover the boundless flavor possibilities that Johnnie Walker and Scotch have to offer.
As part of the campaign, Johnnie Walker has also unveiled the perfect gifting packs for the season to celebrate this milestone with their iconic Johnnie Walker Red, Black, Green 15years, Gold Reserve, 18years and Blue Label whiskies.
Each one is a bold and eye-catching reimagining of the classic Johnnie Walker square bottle with two signature whisky glasses fit for the 200th birthday celebrations.
Presently, there is a feature documentary titled “The Man Who Walked around the world directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Anthony Wonke exploring what has led Johnnie Walker to become an icon in popular culture live on TheManWho.film.
And Canongate Books have recently announced the publication of A Long Stride by Nicholas Morgan, a book charting the remarkable story of how Johnnie Walker became the world’s number one Scotch.