No talk of spirits around the globe stray far from the mention of 200-year old, best selling Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker. #TeamCoco’s lifestyle writer, Eulanda Shead Osagiede visited Edinburgh for the grand opening of the 71,500 sq ft Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor centre.
A blue and white flag with the classic emblem of the beloved “walking man” icon was raised high above Diageo’s newest flagship Johnny Walker Princes Street visitor centre. The new eight-floor visitor centre comes to Edinburgh as part of Diageo’s £185 million (US$255m) investment in Scotch whisky tourism in Scotland – the largest single investment programme in the industry.
Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo shared that “…Last year Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years since founder John Walker opened the doors to his small grocery store and today represents the next chapter of the incredible story.”
A visitor experience like no other…
Unlike other visitor centers in its niche, Johnnie Walker Princes Street goes beyond embracing technology, it seamlessly integrates it in a multi-sensory way–prioritising the guest experience above anything.
Upon the first few minutes of beginning an experience, visitors can expect to have their personal flavour preferences mapped with drinks tailored to their palate. With over 800 flavour combinations available in their innovative dispensation systems, one person could visit Johnnie Walker Princes Street every day for more than two years and not have the same experience twice.
Equally compelling is the theatrical elements of the experience. Each staff member or live performer passionately shares their knowledge of the Johnnie Walker brand, it’s history, and its current influence in the whisky marketplace.
What this site means to the travel & tourism industry
After a challenging period within the travel and tourism industry, Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, said: “We’re thrilled to be opening the doors and helping to re-build the tourism and hospitality industry after a very difficult 18 months. The story of the world’s best-selling whisky has been brought to life with flair and imagination and we have built a team that includes some of the most talented individuals in their fields.”
Smith’s words are completely reflected in the makeup of the onsite staff. With over 150 diverse and talented new employees, speaking 23 languages between them, the 200-year old story of Johnnie Walker has been brought to life in a dynamic and compelling way.
Nowhere to go but up…
The crown jewel of the new site can be found in the two world-class rooftop bars, and a wraparound terrace with stunning views of Edinburgh’s skyline.
Separate reservations can be made for Explorers’ Bothy whisky bar stocked with 150 different whiskies, and the 1820 cocktail bar where drinks are paired with a carefully curated menu sourced from, and representing in culinary form, the four corners of Scotland.
It’s important to note that the experience also caters to non-whisky drinkers with creative non-alcoholic mocktails that can be created and consumed during any visit.
It may sound cliche to say that no trip to Edinburgh is complete without visiting the new Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor centre, but then again, some cliches must be poured out, and a great glass of whisky provided in its place–the perfect accompaniment to any love letter, right?
Details: Tickets for tours start from £25 per person, including a 90-minute tour and three personalised Scotch whisky samples (all samples are provided with carefully controlled measures and non-alcoholic alternatives available to all guests).