International Scotch Day: a day to celebrate

International Scotch Day: a day to celebrate

8 Feb 2024

Today, we raise a glass to International Scotch Day! Scotch is fundamental to our heritage and our business. We produce over 100 individual Scotch brands; in financial year 2023 Scotch alone made up made up a quarter of Diageo’s total net sales value (see presentation page 4). And we offer award-winning Scotch Whisky experiences to consumers and tourists keen to discover more about this iconic product. (The Johnnie Walker Experience in Princes Street, Edinburgh, was named the World's Leading Spirit Tourism Experience at the 2023 World Travel Awards)

To celebrate International Scotch Day, here are four of biggest stories from some of Diageo’s iconic Scotch brands and markets from the last six months:

  1. Johnnie Walker
    In September the Johnnie Walker team launched Blue Label Elusive Umami – a limited edition release that was inspired by one of the world’s most hard-to-define and alluring flavour profile: umami. It signalled the partnership of two masters of their craft: whisky making with Master Blender Emma Walker and creative gastronomy with Japanese chef Kei Kobayashi. He brings a unique craftsmanship and flair to his cuisine – like the rarity and craft that goes into making every bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Only one in 25,000 casks succeed in bringing this limited-edition blend to life.

    The launch created huge excitement and it was officially launched at a remarkable event in Paris. Over the following months teams across the globe celebrated the launch of this remarkable innovation. The official South East Asia launch took place in in Singapore in October, hosting 180 guests from nine markets (Japan, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia & the Philippines)

  2. Mortlach
    Mortlach, one of Diageo’s most exclusive single malt brands celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2023. And in December Mortlach announced that to honour two centuries of distilling excellence, it would proudly welcome legendary Philippe Starck as its first Creative Director. The MORTLACH x STARCK debut collection will be revealed in Spring 2024. “One of the most visionary contemporary creators, Philippe Starck, joins Mortlach as our true partner and we are proud to be the first Scotch whisky brand he has ever worked with,” said Pedro Mendonça, Diageo’s Global Reserve Managing Director.

    “Together we will venture into creative new heights, reinventing what whisky will represent to a generation, reimagining and rebuilding the spirit of Mortlach.”

  3. Scotch in India
    Back in November at Capital Markets Day, Diageo India CEO Hina Nagarajan took investors through the exciting progress and opportunities that exist in the Scotch category. India is already well established as the biggest whisky market in the world – and the most valuable TBA category in that market, almost twice the size of beer.

    Interestingly however, she pointed out that Scotch accounts for 13% of the total whisky value in the country and is the fastest growing and most profitable segment. And in the last four years, while there has been premiumisation in the Indian whisky market with the mid-price segment, it is imported Scotch that is on the march, growing at 32% - with our three biggest brands (Johnnie Walker, Black & White and White Dog) all selling over 1m cases each.

    Hina said: “Post Covid, we took the lead and invested ahead of the industry by focusing on our commercial and luxury business unit and stepped up on new marketing capabilities. Our investments are paying off – with sales value of Scotch doubling in the last two years. This has meant that we have recruited 10m new consumers into Scotch – almost double that of our nearest competitor.”

  4. Port Ellen
    And finally, just this week Diageo celebrated the much-anticipated opening of the Port Ellen distillery later this year with a new release. Port Ellen Gemini is a set of two uniquely extraordinary bottles, a testament to the distillery's rich past and portentous future. At 44 Years Old, Port Ellen Gemini is the oldest ever Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be released directly from the distillery. The whisky was drawn from three exceptional casks specifically selected long ago for this new experiment, and split into two whiskies which took diverging paths of maturation.

    Port Ellen Gemini Original allows an appreciation of the distillery’s time-honoured craft and the characterful Islay smoke whilst Port Ellen Gemini Remnant uses the rediscovered remnant cask in a world first, capturing the ancestral DNA of the distillery’s past. Closed for over forty years, Port Ellen will be born again as a distillery re-envisioned for the future, pushing the boundaries of experimentation in Scotch Whisky with a mission to investigate the mysterious flavours of smoke.

We will continue to apply the same care, skill and entrepreneurial spirit to creating our Scotch whiskies as the founders of our legendary brands and on International Scotch Day we raise a dram to them.