Lovers of Scotch whisky can sit back and raise a glass to Johnnie Walker — contrary to reports this wildly popular brand isn’t closing down. If anything, it’s expanding.

Executives at Diageo, the British-based maker of Johnnie Walker,  have cleared the air after some Indian newspapers published reports announcing the untimely demise of Johnnie Walker and all its labels – red, black, blue, gold and green.

The confusion was caused by a simple case of misreporting — that too of a month-old story. On March 19, Diageo closed down its oldest bottling plant at Kilmarnoch in Scotland. But well before the closure, announced in 2009, 80% of the world’s favourite whiskey was already being bottled in other Scottish plants.

“There is no question whatsoever of Johnnie Walker closing down,” an amused Diageo spokesman told the HT from Edinburgh. Diageo sold £795m worth of liquor in the six months ended Dec 31, 2011 — a 12% increase over the first half of the year. Sales in India rose by 30%, the biggest rise after Turkey.

Net sales in Asia grew by 19% and globally by 15%. The spokesman added, Diageo has invested around £600mn in expanding its production capacity – “largely to meet the global growth of demand for Scotch whisky, led by Johnnie Walker.”


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