The story of Johnnie Walker begins - naturally enough - with the man who gave our whisky his name. The year was 1819 and John Walker’s father had just died. A tough start for a humble farm lad, you might think, but there was always something special about John. A glint in his eye, a fire in his belly, a spring in his step perhaps. When John finally passed away after a full and prosperous life in 1857, he left his son, Alexander, with a very healthy business. Alexander knew a golden opportunity when he saw one. In 1867, he launched Johnnie Walker’s first commercial blend and called it ‘Old Highland Whisky’. Soon afterwards, Alexander began using the famous square bottle to reduce breakages and made sure much more of his whisky arrived intact at its destination. By 1920, Johnnie Walker whisky was in 120 countries. As the century progressed, it became part of global culture: immortalised by songwriters and filmmakers, idolised by socialites and movie stars, enjoyed by statesmen and walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the great sportsmen and women of the age. On 1 January 1934, John Walker & Sons was granted a Royal Warrant by King George V to supply whisky to the royal household. Today, Johnnie Walker is the biggest whisky brand in the world and its slogan is has been adopted and embraced everywhere, as a rallying cry for progress, as encouragement in adversity, as a joyful expression of optimism.
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