As the world’s most widely distributed blended Scotch whisky, selling over 130 million bottles a year, Johnnie Walker has a long and rich history. John Walker was a Scottish grocer based in Kilmarnock who, despite being tee-total himself, produced and sold a brand of whisky called Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky. His son, Alexander Walker, joined his father’s business in 1856 due to his father’s ill health.
A trained tea-blender, Alexander turned his hand to whisky, creating the Old Highland Whisky blend, which eventually went on to become Johnnie Walker Black Label and eventually made the company famous.
In 1908, the original founder’s grandsons were now operating the hugely popular brand of whisky, and decided to rebrand it as Johnnie Walker in remembrance of their grandfather.
Johnnie Walker joined the Distillers Company in 1925, which was later to be purchased in 1986 by Guinness, which in turn merged to become the drinks giant Diageo. The latter of which, against much protest, moved production in 2012 from Kilmarnock to Fife and Glasgow.