Diageo is sued by Explorers Club

By Doug Newhouse |

Giant drinks company Diageo was served with a lawsuit last week by the New York-based Explorers Club for allegedly using its name without permission.

The Johnnie Walker Explorers Club range of whiskies was originally launched back in 2012 exclusively in DF&TR shops around the world, but the New York Explorers Club is apparently unhappy, since it claims to own the trademark and rights to the name. Talks between the two groups to resolve the situation are said to have been unsuccessful.

Diageo saw its leading whisky brand Johnnie Walker – already the number one major spirit brand in duty free and travel retail – move further ahead in 2012 (based on IWSR volume data) thanks, in part, to the launch of the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection.



Explorers’ Club which was unveiled to media at the TFWA Cannes show in autumn 2012 racked up sales of 1.2m bottles in its first seven months at over 100 duty free and travel retail locations with the company telling TRBusiness recently: “We’ve seen it raise the bar in the blended Scotch whisky category.”

It seems likely that this success was repeated, if not bettered in 2013, although no further figures are available at present.

The New York Explorer’s Club filed its lawsuit in a New York State court last week. TRBusiness contacted Diageo directly for a comment today and was told the following for attribution by Corporate Communications: “We just learned of the actions that were filed and do not have a comment at this time.”


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