Johnnie Walker just got some girl power. No, no, limited edition bottles of Jane Walker are not returning just yet but, rather, an actual woman is making history with the Scotch whisky — as the brand’s first female master blender. Dr. Emma Walker — no relation but aptly named — takes over for Dr. Jim Beveridge, marking the first time a woman has been in the coveted role in more than two centuries of Johnnie Walker’s existence. Walker has been with Diageo for 13 years, working as a Scotch blender for the past six years, according to a press release from Diageo, the company that owns the best-selling scotch.
“I am honoured to take on the title of Master Blender of Johnnie Walker, and at an exciting time for the brand as we embark on the next step of our journey looking ahead to the next 200 years,” said Walker in a statement. “I love experimenting and innovating with flavour and we’ll be working hard to not only continue to deliver the unrivalled quality that we are renowned for but also introducing blends to appeal to a new generation of Scotch Whisky fans.”
Dr Emma Walker joins a small, select group of people, and becomes the first female, to take on the coveted role of Master Blender in the 200-year Johnnie Walker story. (Mike Wilkinson/Diageo) Her soon-to-be predecessor added: “It is with pleasure and confidence that I pass on this privilege to Emma. I know she will do a wonderful job as she possesses the knowledge, expertise, and dedication to make an amazing Master Blender.” Beveridge, who began his career at Johnnie Walker 42 years ago and was Master Blender for the last 20, was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth in 2019 for his services in the scotch whisky industry. Walker will lead a team of 12 expert whisky makers who craft and blend whisky from all over Scotland, which is sold in more than 180 countries. Her team will be responsible the Blue Label Ghost and Rare series, as well as the aforementioned Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker blend. She starts off the new position on Jan. 1, 2022.