Straight, with water or on the rocks?22 November 2021
/ An experiential attraction dedicated to the world’s best-selling scotch whisky opened in Edinburgh a few months ago /
A square bottle, a crooked label and the ‘Striding Man’ logo, a gentleman with a top hat and a stick walking briskly: what do these clues tell you? Yes, as you will have guessed, we’re talking about Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling scotch whisky and probably the most famous; highly appreciated for its intense and balanced flavour, and its iconic packaging, designed at least 150 years ago yet still recognisable enough to make it stand out from dozens of other similar products.
Last year the brand celebrated 200 years since founder John Walker opened the door to his small grocery store in Kilmarnock, where the story of his blended whisky began, made by blending multiple single malts. Last September, after over 4 years of planning, construction and Covid-enforced delays, a new chapter in the brand’s history opened, with the inauguration of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, an 8-floor visitor centre in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.
The 6,650sq.m attraction brings to life the story of the brand, its makers and the wider Scotch whisky category, leading guests on an immersive experience. “Johnnie Walker Princes Street offers something unlike any other visitor experience in Scotland,” says Barbara Smith, managing director of the attraction. “It is a venue for everyone, whether that’s visitors to Scotland or local people in Edinburgh, Scotch whisky lovers or those savouring Scotch whisky for the first time.”
The attraction highlight is the so-called Journey of Flavour, an immersive tour into the history of Johnnie Walker employing multi-media, multi-sensory effects and mapping each visitor’s personable tipples to create drinks tailored to his/her palette. Other experiences are the Whisky Maker’s Cellar designed for whisky connoisseurs and taking place in the building cellar and Whisky Explorers held at the Explorer’s Bothy bar (one of the 2 rooftop bars in the facility) and offering an exploration of Scottish whiskies, including single malts from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside, and an exclusive Johnnie Walker lowland grain whisky.
The attraction also includes a large experiential retail space, where shoppers can buy rare and exclusive Scotland’s whiskies, and even fill their own bottles for personalization.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street is part of a 185 million pound (217 million euro) investment in Scotch whisky tourism from beverage alcohol giant Diageo, owners of the Johnnie Walker brand and many many others (over 200!) such as Guinness, Baileys, and J&B. In addition to the Edinburgh attraction, Diageo has in fact created new visitor centres at 4 other distilleries in Scotland.
Whisky-related tourism was booming in Scotland before the pandemic. In 2019, there were about 2.2 million visitors (mainly foreigners, above all from the USA and Germany) and the data from…
Continue reading Games & Parks Industry November 2021, page 62
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