- Johnnie Walker has partnered with musicians Brittany Howard and Tia P. to produce the official anthem of Angel City Football Club, making it the first original anthem for a U.S. women’s professional sports team, according to a press release.
- The anthem, “Running with the Angels,” is the first initiative in the Scotch whisky brand’s new First Strides program, which seeks to fund people and organizations pushing culture forward. Johnnie Walker has also partnered with Black tag, a streaming service meant to increase pay equity for Black creators.
- The Diageo-owned brand has made numerous attempts to reach out to female and minority drinkers in recent years as the market for Scotch whisky and broader liquor space continue to diversify.
Female and multicultural Scotch whisky drinkers are on the rise, challenging a traditionally white and male industry to address the needs of these consumers. Johnnie Walker, the most popular Scotch whisky in the world, is attempting to reach a broad array of drinkers with its First Strides program, with recipients of the grants chosen by a panel of “Walkers,” a diverse group that includes Kenya Barris, Sophia Bush, and comedian Lilly Singh.
Sponsoring the creation of the “Running with the Angels” anthem could help Johnnie Walker connect with fans of The Angel City Football Club, a Los Angeles-based soccer team with a female-forward ownership team that includes actor Natalie Portman. The tie-up arrives as the audience for women’s soccer has grown and after the Angel City team sold 16,000 season tickets for its first season. The collaboration with musicians Brittany Howard and Tia P. grew out of the Scotch whisky brand’s “First Women” campaign, which launched in 2020 and celebrated women who were the first in their respective fields. The campaign highlighted the partnership between Johnnie Walker and the ERA Coalition, a group that advocates for the constitutional equality of women.
Partnerships are not the only way Johnnie Walker has reached out to female drinkers in the past. In 2018, it released Jane Walker, a blend by the company’s first female master blender, Emma Walker (no relation to the brand’s namesake). The blend was made with Scotch whisky from Cardhu, also owned by Diageo, which flourished under the direction of Elizabeth Cummings in the late 1800s. Cummings eventually sold the distillery to Johnnie Walker, and still produces Scotch whisky under its own name today.
The focus on partnerships helps the brand present itself as socially aware, while also increasing visibility to a more diverse Scotch whisky drinking audience.