It almost seems like Diageo plc has been around forever, given the fact that it owns so many classic, venerable brands, including Johnnie Walker scotch, Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Guinness stout. But as a company, it’s still a year away from legal drinking age—in the U.S., at least, not in its U.K. home—as Diageo just turned 20 on Sunday.
Created on 17 December 1997, through the merger of Grand Metropolitan plc and Guinness plc, Diageo has become a global leader in beverage alcohol, with its products being sold in 180 countries.
The milestone is being celebrated around the world by the company’s 30,400 employees. From a time capsule ceremony at Cardhu distillery in Scotland, the home of Johnnie Walker, to employees in Lagos, Nigeria and Sydney, Australia toasting the occasion with a dram of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
In London, to mark the celebration, Diageo’s Chief Executive, Ivan Menezes, along with the company’s talented team of Scotch Whisky Blenders and fellow members of the senior leadership team opened the market at the London Stock Exchange.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the past 20 years, which is testament to the commitment of our talented employees past and present,” says Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes. “Diageo is a young company created from the incredible entrepreneurial legacy of John Walker, Pierre Smirnoff, Charles Tanqueray, Arthur Guinness and many more—and this spirit continues today.
“Our brands are part of celebrations globally every day, as we mark this milestone, it is not only the growth of our brands and business that I will be toasting, but the way we do business. We have made great strides in diversity and inclusion, minimizing our environmental impact, our contribution to the communities where we operate and in our aim to reduce the harmful use of alcohol around the world.”
Adds Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America, “It’s extraordinary to consider how Diageo has grown and matured as a company over the past two decades, both around the globe, and in North America. On this anniversary we raise a glass to the company we have become and our amazing brands, including those we produce right here in the United States and Canada.
“I’m privileged to lead this diverse business and the more than 2500 talented people who work to make this company better, and who bring their best selves to work every day.”