The origins of JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK LABEL go back to when John Walker’s son Alexander took over in 1857. Realising the genius and untapped potential of his father’s blends, Alexander focused on expanding the whisky side of the business.
He drew inspiration from his father’s signature smoky style. And in 1867 he copyrighted ‘Old Highland Whisky’, which was the precursor of today’s JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK LABEL. By 1889, John Walker & Sons had businesses established in London, Sydney and Paris, and distribution agents appointed as widely as South Africa, America and India. At that time, few brands had such breadth of distribution.
By the 1890s Alexander II and George, the grandsons of John Walker, were running the business. Following the innovative spirit of their forebears and the principle of providing high quality whiskies, these men carved out a new vision, identifying ways to drive it to new levels of commercial success.
With marketing insight ahead of their time – the brothers understood the importance of producing an easily recognisable brand. The distinctive slanted black label was the key, and three years later in 1909 the words ‘BLACK LABEL’ appeared on the bottle for the very first time.