Johnnie Walker becomes a 15 million case brand
30 August 2007
Diageo today announces record results for Johnnie Walker, the world’s best selling Scotch
whisky, and delivery of an exceptionally challenging 5-year business goal for the brand. The
target of an annual sales volume of 15 million cases in F07 laid down in 2001 has been
The achievement is all the more remarkable in that the 15 million case ambition was set
following a long period of stagnation in the whisky category. Throughout the 90s, the
industry had been negatively impacted by several factors including the Asian crisis and the
growing popularity of white spirits. By the mid 90s its share of total spirits had slipped from
4% to 3%. Growth of the Johnnie Walker brand had been stagnant for several years and, in
1997, its share of the category dropped for the first time in a decade.
Despite this unfavourable climate, in 1999, Diageo committed to transforming Johnnie
Walker into a global icon brand and the thought-leader for the category. The launch of the
innovative and pioneering Keep Walking campaign broke away from traditional whisky
advertising, and set the scene for one of the category’s strongest examples of consistent brand
building. Since 2001 sales have increased year on year driven by programmes such as the re-
launch of Red Label, global programmes for Gold Label and Blue Label, the partnership with
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to name but a few.
The leadership shown by Johnnie Walker has spearheaded growth for the whole industry,
bringing about what the Scotch Whisky Association has described as a ‘renaissance’. Exports
of Scotch whisky are now at an all time high, with volumes exceeding one billion bottles per
annum and the value of the category approaching nearly £2.5 billion.
The brand will continue its pioneering journey to innovate and drive the value of the
category. The ultra-premium Johnnie Walker King George V Special Edition is currently
being introduced in markets around the world, and Johnnie Walker Gold Label has recently
undergone a significant re-design.
About Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker is the world’s number-one selling Scotch whisky brand. It represents the
concept of personal progress for the many people who enjoy it in almost 200 countries
worldwide, just as it did for John Walker when he founded the business in 1820. Today’s
emotive tag line 'Keep Walking' draws on the traditional association of the whisky with
celebrating significant achievements and marking the rites of passage in a man’s life.
A combination of consumer insight, determination and commercial astuteness enabled three
pioneering generations of Walkers to grow a small grocery store into an international whisky
business selling stylish, authentic, iconic brands. This progressive and innovative approach
has continued into the 21st century; since 2005 Johnnie Walker has partnered one of the
world’s most successful Formula 1 racing teams, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. The sport
provides a unique international platform for engaging with today’s consumer.
Throughout almost 200 years of trading, John Walker’s original values of quality and
consistency have been rigorously applied to the blending process. Like John’s grandson,
Alexander, a master of the art of blending, today’s specialists combine a first-class training, a
natural talent and a Master Blender’s perceptive nose; all crucial when creating complex
blends. The brand won its first global award for quality in 1878 and has taken over 130
highly prized international medals in the past 16 years alone.
In 1908 'Born 1820 – Still Going Strong' appeared on Johnnie Walker advertising material.
Nearly a hundred years later Johnnie Walker continues to produce successful leading-edge
brands. The range of stylish, award-winning whiskies now includes Black Label, Red Label,
Blue Label, Green Label, Gold Label, Premier and Swing. Together they account for 15.4
million cases annually, making Johnnie Walker the most popular whisky in the world.
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business. With its global vision, and local
marketing focus, Diageo brings to consumers an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol
brands across the spirits, wine and beer categories including Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie
Walker, Baileys, J&B, Jose Cuervo, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray, and Beaulieu Vineyard
and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo trades in some 180 countries around the world and is
listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).
For more information about Diageo, its people, brands and performance, visit us at
Diageo is committed to responsible drinking through: setting world-class standards in
responsible marketing, promotion and innovation; promoting a shared understanding of what
responsible drinking means, and working with others to combat alcohol misuse.
For further information:
Alicia Tetlow, Head of Brand Communications
Tel: +44 (0)7803 854 929