“We welcome today’s announcement by Diageo and recognise its huge potential to entice more visitors to Scotland and to further enhance the visitor experience both at a local and national level.
“Kilmarnock is the home of the most famous whisky in the world and we have always recognised the strength of the Johnnie Walker brand and what it means to the heritage of East Ayrshire and indeed Scotland.
“Johnnie Walker was an outstanding entrepreneur. Born and bred in Kilmarnock, he set up his first shop in Sandbed Street, near Kilmarnock Cross and proceeded to create a blend which has reached every part of the globe. We were pleased recently when Diageo used this 19th century shop as the inspiration for its Johnnie Walker whisky retail display at Heathrow airport’s terminal 5.
“We’re very proud of Johnnie Walker as a son of the town, and it’s great to see that this investment will use his brand to provide a very welcome boost to tourism in Scotland as a whole, helping support countless other businesses as it draws more visitors to explore our country.
“We’re delighted that Johnnie Walker’s Kilmarnock legacy is to be recognised with a scholarship which builds on our reputation for encouraging young local entrepreneurs. Through this programme, and with renewed interest in Johnnie Walker the man, we can carry his proud legacy forward to create new opportunities for tourism and entrepreneurship for future generations.
“We will be meeting with Diageo in the very near future to discuss how Kilmarnock – and the Johnnie Walker legacy - will feature in their plans and we look forward to working with them and other stakeholders to build on the historic provenance of the famous Johnnie Walker brand.