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Diageo opens Johnnie Walker House in Beijing

Following the success of the Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai, Diageo has opened an even larger embassy for luxury Scotch whisky in Beijing. Like the property in Shanghai, which opened last year, the Johnnie Walker House Beijing is set to provide consumers with bespoke experiences to immerse themselves into the world of whisky and Johnnie Walker. 

With China poised to become the world’s most powerful market for luxury goods the Johnnie Walker House serves to meet consumer demand for luxury with substance.  Blending a bar, museum, retail outlet and an exclusive members club, the Johnnie Walker House Beijing is a response to the demand from Chinese consumers for in-depth knowledge, not only of the specific luxury brands they indulge in, but also of the broader categories the brands fall under.

Gilbert Ghostine, president, Diageo Asia Pacific said: “The Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai has been our most successful experiment in marketing and commercial innovation in Asia to date. This was a journey for our consumers, as well as our business, and we are very happy today to share even more luxurious offerings through the Johnnie Walker House Beijing. This experience has brought incredible success and new energy to Johnnie Walker’s century-long story of progress in China.”

The Johnnie Walker House Shanghai played a part in shaping the international spirits landscape in China with luxury Scotch. Since the House began operating in 2011, sales of super-deluxe Johnnie Walker whisky in China increased by 64% year-on-year; this included Johnnie Walker Blue Label that grew 45% over the same period. In Beijing, Johnnie Walker will be offering:

The Houses are dedicated to the enjoyment of luxury whisky and they have some of the finest whiskies in the world available for patrons to sample and purchase. 

The Houses are home to collections that are available only for purchase on site such as the Johnnie Walker Epic Dates collection – retailing from RMB22,800 (GBP2,250) – and the Master Blender Series which will be a collection of whiskies aged at least 30 years.  In addition, patrons can work with the Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge to create a personalized blend.  Even with an entry price of RMB800,000 (GBP80,000), this service has been so popular that one customer has created a blend that has become his family’s hallmark at celebrations.  Jim Beveridge maintains a personal collection of his favourite whiskies in the House for use in creating these bespoke blends.

The Johnnie Walker House Beijing offers an immersive environment with members-only whisky vaults, signature blends and private “whisky-inspired” dining from the brand’s in-house chef. A total of only 200 patrons will have access to exclusive lifestyle experiences as well as private sections of the House. 

Among the many privileges for patrons is access to an exclusive concierge service.  In addition, relationship managers get to know the preferences of each member in order to ensure the whisky experience is as personal as possible. 

Membership at the House opens a world of possibilities outside of China as members can also take advantage of the concierge service to arrange trips to Scotland where they have access to private distilleries and whisky collections, can sample some of the rarest and oldest whiskiesin the world, as well as stay in private castles and enjoy access to members-only golf courses.

Johnnie Walker House Beijing is located at Ch’ien Men 23 – an historical meeting point of East and West in China and one of the most prestigious addresses in the city. 

The luxury spaces in the two Houses offer the brand a unique opportunity to engage VIP consumers and influencers through invitation-only experiences and rooms such as the Master Blender Suite in Beijing – a VIP-only space inspired by the original Johnnie Walker Blending rooms. 

The whisky experience is further heightened through design of the physical space, bringing Scottish history and culture to Beijing with a reimagining of a distillery, a recreation of John Walker’s original grocery shop and a blending floor made from the ingredients used to make whisky. 

At the downstairs Distillery Bar, which will be open to the public, nearly 10,000 copper pipes have been used to simulate a working distillery.  

Diageo hopes to roll out this business model beyond China, with plans for Asia Pacific and, ultimately, worldwide development of the Johnnie Walker House concept.


10 December 2012 - Felicity Murray