KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND – Great brands are associated with a place. This is true even more with alcohol other products that have elastic demands. The place of manufacture adds to the allure of the brand, and that helps build a market for it.
You differentiate your liquor product not only by taste, but the whole distilling, packaging and history of the product. That “x factor” is what makes the brand. Not only is it important to have certain drinks made in a country (whisky in Ireland, wine in France), but to have certain types of alcohol associated with a region.
So it is so sad that we heard that London-based Diageo was going to close the Johnnie Walker Red factor in Kilmarnock, Scotland and move it elsewhere. After 120 years! Frankly we are tired of these penny-pinching factory closings, but distilling, of all things, calls for INEFFICIENCY to make the brand.
Frankly, who wants to buy Johnnie Walker if it is not from Kilmarnock? What a bore.
John Grant, a Kilmarnock man, has even sent letters to Kilmarnock’s sister cities, including Kilmarnock, Virginia, to ask citizens there to log onto their website to help keep the factory open. We did.
A letter to Paul Walsh, Chief Officer, Diageo:
But history and tradition are very real and tangible assets and make the Johnnie Walker brand respected around the world. A fatal mistake in your Executives’ assessment is that there is no recognition of Kilmarnock’s role in this success story. How wrong can they be?
Our online petition now stands at over 5,500 and people from all over the world write in support of Johnnie Walker staying in Kilmarnock. A spectacular misjudgment has taken place about the reaction of ordinary people – your customers. And this will grow and grow.
Is our history, legacy and dedication to be shifted around the world like a mere commodity to another location? Make no mistake, this proposal not only robs us of over 700 jobs, but it attempts to rob us of our past. Do you really think it is the right thing to do to leave us so empty-handed? Surely this is the final indignity, so undeserved by a loyal workforce over many generations.