UK: Diageo cuts ties with Johnnie Walker past

By | 2 July 2009

Diageo's plan to chop more than 10% of its workforce in Scotland marks the end of an era for the drinks giant's Johnnie Walker whisky brand.

Diageo plans to close its packaging facility in Kilmarnock, ending ties with the town that spawned the Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky label almost 200 years ago.

The Kilmarnock plant is to be closed down over a two-year period, with 700 jobs expected to be lost in the area, Diageo said yesterday (1 July).

The move is expected to force Diageo to change the wording on labels for Johnnie Walker bottles.

John Walker opened a shop in Kilmarnock in 1820, before moving on to blend whisky in the town, laying the first stone of a path that has led to Johnnie Walker selling 16.2m nine-litre cases worldwide annually.

The whisky is one of Diageo's "global priority brands", alongside the likes of Smirnoff and Guinness, and increased net sales by 14% in the group's most recent fiscal full-year, to the end of June 2008.

Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, was due to meet with Diageo's senior management today to express the Scottish Government's concerns over the proposed job cuts.


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness

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