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Meet Alexander Walker


The difference between success and failure is often in how you
respond to adversity. The next time you find yourself confronted by
a challenge, consider the story of a nineteen-year old Scottish man
who single-handedly turned a disaster into a dynasty.

Experience 1

When Alexander joined his father John Walker’s grocery business in 1856, the shop was still reeling from a flood in Kilmarnock that had decimated all of its stock four years earlier.

Such a catastrophe should have sunk the business. However, Alexander saw opportunity. He told his father that the future of the family business was not in the local grocery trade, but rather in wholesale trading. Although Alexander was not yet twenty, John decided to trust his son’s instincts. It was a decision that proved wise. The new venture flourished.

But Alexander wasn’t finished transforming the business. Drawing on his experience as an apprentice tea blender in Glasgow, he began developing blended whisky for sale. Although local tastes tended toward sweeter French brandies, Alexander found his market overseas, in American and Australia. It was in these far-flung locales that he sold over a million gallons his newly developed blend by 1880.

He called it Old Highland Whisky. And it was a perfect blend of pure Scottish whiskies that would later be renamed in honour of the man who first put his trust in Alexander—his father, John Walker. The glorious result? An achievement celebrated the world over.

Check back soon for the next inspirational profile in our series on the minds behind JOHNNIE WALKER®.


Those who truly appreciate JOHNNIE WALKER know the difference between quality and quantity. Thanks for enjoying the world’s #1 Scotch whisky responsibly.