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. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050724/LASU001) 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 www.johnniewalker.com 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 http://www.diageo.com. Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly.
SOURCE Johnnie Walker