Johnnie Walker Red to be 'first whisky to display calorie content on bottle'

The world's best-selling Scotch whisky is set to make history - by being the first global brand to display calorie content on the bottle.

Published 12th Jul 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

From early Autumn, bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label will be adorned with stickers detailing alcohol content and nutritional information.


The labels will inform whisky connoisseurs that every 30ml meaure of the water of life will total 67 calories - the same as a small banana.

And it means that those watching their waistlines can keep better tabs on what they are drinking.

Health-conscious drinkers will have to walk for 17 minutes, swim for 12 minutes or kiss someone non-stop for over an hour to burn off their after-dinner tipple.

Illustration of new labels on Johnnie Walker Red Label - high res

However, they may be happy to read that the popular dram actually contains no sugar, fat or carbohydrates.

Furthermore, there is 0g of salt, protein and saturates recorded in the product.

Compared to other drinks

The information also allows whisky-lovers to compare the calories-per-unit content with other alcoholic drinks.

Per unit of Johnnie Walker there are 55.6 calories - less than the 60 calories per unit of lager and 62.5 per unit of red wine.

The change to Johnnie Walker packaging comes as its Edinburgh-based owner, Diageo, introduces new labelling guidelines for its entire portfolio.

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The new stickers will also be extended to Johnnie Walker Black Label, Double Black, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum and Green Label by the first half of 2017.

Carolyn Panzer, director of Alcohol in Society, Diageo, said: “The new scheme is simple, clear and attractive – and most importantly, it’s based on what consumers want.

“Current labelling on most alcoholic beverages does not reflect how people consume alcohol and therefore does not allow consumers to understand how much alcohol is in their favourite drink or what is in their glass.”

The number and variation of symbols printed on the labels will differ according to country-specific regulations.

The idea has been praised by Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, who says that many people “forget” about the number of calories in drinks.

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He said: “I think it’s a really sensible and socially responsible idea. Over the last decade we have suffered greatly from purchasers not knowing what is in their food.

“A lot of people forget that drinks have calories too. We are used to drinking water, which has no calories, and sometimes translate that to other drinks.

“Many would be aghast to find out how many calories is in a pint of beer, for example. I would congratulate Diageo for making it clear on their label.”

Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, said: “We believe people should have the best possible information to make informed choices about what they drink: this includes alcohol content and nutritional information per typical serve.

“These new labels will arm millions of people around the world with clear information about what’s in their glass and in a way they can understand at a glance.”

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Diageo Consumer Information Standards

The calorie and serving size information is being introduced as part of Diageo Consumer Information Standards (DCIS), which come into force earlier this month and applies to all brands in the portfolio.

Diageo formed the DCIS based on research of more than 1,500 consumers around the world, and reflect the way consumers have asked to receive information on alcohol content.

The majority claimed that when too much information is presented on a label it can be too confusing, and lead to them ignoring the information altogether.

However, the research also found that as well as alcohol information, consumers want to be able to find the calorie and sugar content, allergens and brand facts on the bottle label.

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