Dr Emma Walker to take over as Johnnie Walker master blender

Dr Emma Walker to take over as Johnnie Walker master blender

Walker will succeed retiring industry legend Dr Jim Beveridge OBE in the role

News | 20 Oct 2021

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After more than 40 years at Diageo, 20 of which were spent as Johnnie Walker’s master blender, Dr Jim Beveridge OBE is set to retire. The brand has announced today that Dr Emma Walker will step into the role.

Dr Walker will be one of a small, select group of people, and the first woman, to take on the role of master blender in more than two centuries of the business’s existence, along with the legacy of its first master blender, founder John Walker.
Dr Emma Walker and Dr Jim Beveridge OBE

Dr Walker, who bears no relation to the Walker family, joined Diageo 13 years ago and has worked extensively with Dr Beveridge and as a blender on Johnnie Walker for the last six years. Her innovations include the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare series and Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker.

From January 2022, Dr Walker will lead the 12-strong team of expert whisky makers to create the numerous Johnnie Walker variants which are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. She said, “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. 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. I have learnt so much over my career working with Jim, whose knowledge and generosity of spirit are unsurpassed in the world of whisky.”
Dr Jim Beveridge OBE

Dr Beveridge commented, “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. 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.”

Julie Bramham, global brand director for Johnnie Walker, comments: “It is through Jim’s tireless work, incredible expertise and dedication to quality that the iconic flavours of the Johnnie Walker portfolio are so popular today, and we thank him for his outstanding contribution over the last four decades. Emma takes over at an exciting time: Scotch is being enjoyed in so many different ways by people from all over the world, and I know that Emma and her team will continue to develop the exceptional tastes, textures and flavours that we are renowned for.”
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