Blog: Chris MercerA Dinner for Diageo's Johnnie Walker Double Black

Chris Mercer | 20 May 2011

Last night, just to prove that three days at an international wine show is not enough, just-drinks popped along to a Diageo-hosted dinner at Marcus Wareing's restaurant at The Berkeley to mark one year since the launch of Johnnie Walker Double Black.

As you've probably summised already, Johnnie Walker Double Black has proved a serious hit in the travel retail sector, where it was officially launched around a year ago. Well, it was hardly going to be a slap-up dinner to celebrate the brand extension's glorious failure, was it?

Some of Diageo's jubilation probably translates from relief. After all, it's not easy to extend a flagship brand, as the innovation team on Guinness has found several times to its cost.

Before we tucked into some seriously good food, accompanied by Johnnie Walker Double Black-infused sauce (and jelly), we chewed some numbers and heard about Diageo's plans. 

We'll have more information for you next week, but here's a snippet. In the fourth quarter of calendar 2010, Johnnie Walker Double Black achieved net sales of GBP3m (US$4.9m), making it the eighth best-selling spirits brand by value in the global travel retail sector during the period, Diageo said last night. It had a value share of 1.8% for the three months.

The group's head of travel retail for Europe, Paul Downing, expects that Double Black's recent launch in Russia will significantly boost his corner of the Diageo empire over the next year.

Stay tuned for more.


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