Johnnie Walker(R) Prepares to Celerate the 200th Birthday of Founder John Walker

The World's Best Selling Scotch Whisky Celebrates the Bicentennial of Its

Founder With the Release of a Limited Edition, Cask Strength Blue Label(R)

Jul 24, 2005, 01:00 ET from Johnnie Walker

    NEW YORK, July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- July 25, 2005 marks the 200th birthday
 of John Walker, the original Master Blender and founder of Johnnie Walker(R),
 the world's best selling brand of Scotch Whisky.  Among the celebratory
 activities planned is the ultra-limited release of some of the rarest whisky
 the world has ever known.
     As a young man, Walker left his family farm in the Scottish Highlands to
 open a shop in nearby Kilmarnock.  Walker dreamt of blending the perfect
 whisky, thereby creating a consistency and smoothness that was lacking in the
 heavy and oily single-malt whiskies of his day.  "He set out to create a blend
 that cannot be beat," wrote his son Alexander years later.
     Today, IMPACT ranks Johnnie Walker(R) as the world's most valuable spirits
 brand; in 2004 alone, more than 33 million bottles of Johnnie Walker(R) were
 sold around the world, and approximately 43 glasses of Johnnie Walker(R) Black
 Label(R) are enjoyed by consumers each second.  In fact, Johnnie Walker sells
 twice the volume of the number two brand.
     Around the world, the symbol of Johnnie Walker(R) is its iconic logo.
 "The Striding Man symbolizes the Walker family motto that through perseverance
 and commitment, man will always make progress," says Chris Parsons, Vice
 President, Scotch Marketing, Diageo NA.  "Initially designed as a cartoon
 rendering of John Walker, the Striding Man has endured as one of the great
 global icons of the modern era and there's no stronger figure around which to
 celebrate such a significant milestone."
     The makers of Johnnie Walker have planned to mark Walker's 200th birthday
 in a number of ways, the centerpiece of which will be a gala birthday
 celebration in New York City on July 25th.
     The whisky dynasty that bears Walker's name will further honor the 200th
 anniversary of his birth with the ultra-limited release of the rarest blend of
 whisky the world has ever known.  "The John Walker 1805 Pack is a
 cask-strength blend of selected whiskies that are predominantly from
 distilleries no longer in existence.  All are more than 45 years old; some as
 old as 70," says Parsons.
     Each pack includes a replica of the original handwritten recipe book from
 Walker's grandson Alexander.  (Quantities have been removed, all other aspects
 remain intact).  Only 200 Packs will be available worldwide, each with an
 estimated value in excess of $20,000; however none will be for sale.  "In
 keeping with the brand as an icon of progress, these magnificent tributes will
 be presented to individuals from around the world judged to have made a
 significant impact on modern life," Parsons adds.
     Discerning consumers will have the opportunity themselves to join in the
 celebration though the limited release of the Johnnie Walker(R) Blue Label(R)
 Anniversary Pack, a cask strength edition of the flagship blend, Johnnie
 Walker(R) Blue Label(R).
     The celebratory Anniversary Pack features a unique blend of cask strength
 whiskies, personally overseen by the Johnnie Walker Master Blender and will be
 available in extremely limited quantities.  Approximately 700 will be sold at
 select spirit stores in the United States and will retail for approximately
 $3,500 each.
     The whisky is contained in an exceptional Anniversary decanter
 specifically created for Johnnie Walker(R) by Baccarat.  This unique decanter
 is housed in a box of soft blue leather alongside a limited edition book that
 describes the origins of the Blue Label(R) whisky as well as tasting notes for
 the cask strength blend.
     About Johnnie Walker(R):
     The Johnnie Walker(R) portfolio features five award-winning whiskies --
 Red Label(R), Black Label(R), Green Label(TM), Gold Label(R) and Blue Label(R)
 -- imported and distributed in the United States by Diageo North America.
 More than 4 bottles of Johnnie Walker are consumed every second, and more than
 120 million bottles are sold every year in more than 200 countries.  The
 product line covers a broad range of occasions for the whisky drinker from
 every day to special moments.  The five premium brands represent a range of
 prices and tastes that share a remarkable 180-year history and a commitment to
 quality.  Additional information about Johnnie Walker may be found at
     About Diageo:
     Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding
 collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer
 categories.  These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B,
 Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, and Crown Royal, as well as
 Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.
     Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 200 markets around the
 world.  The company 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
 Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly.

SOURCE Johnnie Walker