Afshin Molavi in Foreign Policy:
Today, four bottles of Johnnie Walker are consumed every second, with some 120 million bottles sold annually in 200 countries. Five of Johnnie Walker's top seven global markets are in the emerging world: Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, China, and a region the company calls “Global Travel Asia and Middle East.”
From a small town in the Scottish Lowlands, the Striding Man has come a long way — and he's still walking.
Ask anyone who travels in emerging markets or developing economies, and chances are they've been offered Johnnie Walker. These are just some of the places I've seen it poured: at a Beijing gathering of techies, a four-day wedding in Jaipur, countless bars in Dubai, a Nile cruise in Egypt, the home of an Arab diplomat in Bangkok, private homes in Tehran, a middle-class Istanbul house, and diplomatic parties in Riyadh.
Journalists who spent time in Baghdad during the Iraq war marveled at the easy availability of Johnnie Walker Black Label, even when food staples were scarce. The late writer Christopher Hitchens — who fondly referred to the drink as “Mr. Walker's amber restorative” — accurately noted that Black Label was “the favorite drink of the Iraqi Baath Party.” In Saddam Hussein's era, a smuggler could make a good living taking crates across the border for thirsty Iranians.