Originally known as Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky, the brand is a legacy left by John ‘Johnnie’ Walker after he started to sell whisky in his grocer’s shop in Ayrshire, Scotland. The brand became popular, but it was his son Alexander Walker and grandson Alexander Walker II who were largely responsible for establishing the whisky as a widely popular brand.
Black Label and Green Label Pure Malt
Walker died in 1857, but his legacy was assured as the Walker family developed the business and grew the Johnnie Walker brand to become world famous.
Alexander Walker first introduced the iconic square bottle in 1870. The other identifying characteristic of the bottle is the label, which is applied at an angle of 24 degrees.
In 1908, when James Stevenson was the Managing Director, there was a rebranding of sorts. The whisky was renamed from Walker’s Kilmarnock Whiskies to Johnnie Walker Whisky. In addition, the slogan, “Born 1820 – Still going Strong!” was created, along with the Striding Man, a figure used in their advertisements for around fifty years. Commercial artist Tom Browne created an image of a man wearing a red coat with tails, a top hat, quizzing glass (or monocle) and Hessian boots, and carrying a cane. It was created in the likeness of company founder John Walker.