Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky, has named Dr. Emma Walker as the new master blender, following news that legendary Master Blender Dr. Jim Beveridge will retire at the end of the year.
Beveridge has been with Diageo for 40 years, with 20 as master blender.
Walker is the first female master blender for this centuries-old, global brand. Aptly named, although no relation to the Walker family, she joined Diageo 13 years ago. She has worked as a blender, including the last six on Johnnie Walker. Her innovations include the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare series, and Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker.
Walker will lead the brand’s 12-strong team of whisky makers. During her career, she has worked in different areas of whisky production, including several years working with Beveridge.
“I am honored 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,” Walker says. “I love experimenting and innovating with flavor, 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.”
“I have learnt so much over my career working with Jim,” she adds, “whose knowledge and generosity of spirit is unsurpassed in the world of whisky.”
The announcement comes as Beveridge retires after a four-decade career. His began at Johnnie Walker as an analytical chemist 42 years ago. He has gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly respected figures in the industry. In 2019, he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to the Scotch whisky industry.
“It is with pleasure and confidence that I pass on this privilege to Emma,” says Beveridge . “I know she will do a wonderful job as she possesses the knowledge, expertise and dedication to make an amazing Master Blender. On a personal level I am delighted for her, and I know that her wonderfully infectious personality, that made working with her so enjoyable, will bring something exciting and different to the team and, indeed, to the wider Scotch industry.”
Walker will officially hold the title of Master Blender startig Jan. 1, 2022.
Beveridge will remain with the business until the end of the year.