Johnnie Walker and Scottish Rugby announce three-year partnership

Diageo’s blended Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker and Scottish Rugby have announced a three-year partnership which will see the spirit be exclusively served at all Scotland matches at the Murrayfield stadium.

The deal, which was announced yesterday (25 June), will see Johnnie Walker become the official whisky partner of Scottish Rugby and the official whisky of the Scotland Rugby team.

The Scotch will also be served in pop-up bars in the stadium grounds, with ‘brand experiences’ planned for international match days.

Johnnie Walker was also recently confirmed as the official whisky partner of the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The brand is heavily investing in the Scottish capital and plans to open its new multi-floor visitor centre on Princes Street in 2020.

The plans, which were submitted in February this year, include a “multi-sensory, immersive visitor experience” over three floors, covering the brand’s 200-year history as well as the art of whisky production..

It is part of Diageo’s wider £150 million investment to boost Scotch whisky tourism.

In April, it was also announced that Johnnie Walker had submitted plans to enhance the “visitor experiences” at its Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries. Cardhu is set to become the “Speyside home” of Johnnie Walker and Clynelish the “Highland home” according to the statement. At Cardhu there are plans for “significant” new landscaping around the distillery, including the planting of an orchard.

Commenting on the new partnership, David Cutter, president of global supply and procurement for Diageo, said: “Johnnie Walker and Scottish Rugby have so much in common that this is a natural partnership for both our organisations.

“We share long histories and deep roots in Scottish culture, but we are not prepared settle for that. Johnnie Walker is about progress, about challenging tradition, breaking new ground and find new audiences for our whisky. Scottish Rugby is doing the same for rugby, opening the sport up to diverse new generations of players and fans.

​“Johnnie Walker is made by a great team of people here in Scotland, with unrivalled craft and passion for what they do, which parallels the great skill and determination of Scotland’s rugby community. This partnership will celebrate those shared values and work to inspire new rugby and whisky fans alike.”

Dominic McKay, chief operating officer of Scottish Rugby, added: “Johnnie Walker is a very exciting new addition to our partner family and one that continues to deepen our relationship with Diageo even further. The agreement will see two like-minded brands in Scottish Rugby and Johnnie Walker working together to promote the very best of Scotland, at home and abroad.

“We work extremely hard to ensure our fans on a matchday at BT Murrayfield have an amazing day and by joining up with Johnnie Walker we can offer a new and distinctly Scottish brand to supporters.”

This follows news that Diageo had pulled its sponsorship of English rugby club London Irish after it signed Paddy Jackson.

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