Boycott Diageo

All non-fitba stuff in here please.

Boycott Diageo

Postby Scottish » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:00 am

I usually try to keep this site free from non-football topics, especially if they are of a controversial nature and liable to cause disharmony in what is otherwise a friendly site for fitba fans of all clubs. I trust regular site users will understand why I am ignoring my own rule here.

Diageo PLC have announced the impending closure of their Johnnie Walker whisky bottling plant in Kilmarnock with the subsequent loss of 700 jobs. Johnnie Walker whisky was founded in Kilmarnock in 1820 and for many years had a close association with Kilmarnock FC, including a regular advert in the club programme - "born 1820, still going strong" - and had their name emblazoned across the covered terracing at the Dundonald Road end of Rugby Park from 1935 until the ground became an all-seater in 1994.

This year is the centenary not only of the establishment of the famous Red and Black Labels but also of the 'striding man' figure, one of the advertising world's most well-known and enduring symbols.

Today, Johnnie Walker is part of the giant Diageo group, itself the product of a merger between Guinness & Grand Metropolitan, and has had little direct interaction with Kilmarnock FC for some time. Indeed as far as sport is concerned, sponsorship of motor racing, golf and baseball have long been preferred to football.

The decision to axe these jobs (and to 'outsource' a smaller number at their nearby Hurlford warehouse) over the next two years is NOT the result of the worldwide recession as Diageo are actually expanding elsewhere in Scotland. So, far from being the inevitable result of the current economic climate, it is, rather, a deliberate choice made by Diageo executives.

It is a choice which purposefully ignores two centuries of history but more important than that it is one which will intentionally make almost 1,000 people (when knock-on effects are considered) unemployed in a town with a total population of under 50,000. In other words at least 5% of the working population.

While Diageo have said there will be a 12-month moratorium on compulsory redundancies and have indicated that existing employees will be welcome to transfer to the upgraded facility in Fife that will be of little comfort as many of their employees have worked for them for many years and have reached a time of their working life when the prospect of upheaval and moving from family and friends is one they dread rather than relish. In addition the suggestion that the workforce could uproot itself from Ayrshire to Fife en masse ignores the realities of modern working life. Many Walker's employees are part of family units with two wage-earners and therefore caught on the horns of a dilemma when considering moving. Who earns the most money? Who has the best job security? Where do the best promotion prospects lie?

Then there are the many other questions that must be asked. What will be the effects on the children's education? What about the grandparents? Or friendships and family relationships? Can we afford a house if we move? Can we sell where we are now? What's the council waiting list like?

These are never easy questions for any family to answer at the best of times (and I speak as one who has moved hundreds of miles several times in my life) let alone at a time of imminent unemployment and with hundreds of others asking exactly the same questions.

I doubt whether these kinds of questions exercised the minds of Diageo PLC overmuch, if at all, when arriving at their decision.

At the moment discussions are taking place between Diageo & local politicians, councillors and unions and it is to be hoped that a solution can be found which retains a substantial presence in Kilmarnock.

But while those involved in face-to-face discussions must of necessity be diplomatic in both their approach and their comments that doesn't apply to the rest of us outside looking in.

I therefore suggest the following course of action: since Diageo have decided that they no longer have any loyalty to the workers and the town which made Johnnie Walker the global success that it is, we as consumers need feel no loyalty to Diageo or any of their brands. Therefore until or unless an amicable agreement is reached with the Kilmarnock & Hurlford workforces we are resolving not to buy or consume any Diageo products. This message can be got across via the following methods

1. E-mail Diageo, raising the points made in this post and any others you think appropriate. Be polite and respectful. Avoid strong, intemperate or abusive language. The main point to get across is that as a consumer of their products you are unhappy with their decision and are of a mind to stop buying Diageo products unless an amicable agreement is reached with the workforce in Kilmarnock. The addresses are:

UK consumers -

Ireland -


Rest of the world -

2. Write to them making the same points and taking care to use the same reasoned, polite arguments as above

Diageo plc
8 Henrietta Place

3. Telephone them and ask for your opposition to this move to be put on the record

From the UK - 0207 927 5200

From outside the UK +44 207 927 5200

The following brands are all Diageo's. Please make them aware you are boycotting ALL these products, not just Walker's. Some of these names will be familiar, others less so as not all products are available in all countries.

Diageo Beers & Lagers
All Guinness products
Red Stripe
Senator Keg

Bulleit Bourbon
Black & White
Crown Royal
George Dickel
J&B - all brands
Johnnie Walker - all brands
Old Parr
Spey Royal
The Real Mackenzie
VAT 69
White Horse
Windsor Premier

Caol Ila
Glen Elgin
Glen Ord
Royal Lochnagar

Aperitifs, Brandy, Cognac


Romana Sambuca

Captain Morgan - all brands

Black Haus
Rumple Minze

Don Julio
Jose Cuervo - all brands

Smirnoff - all brands

Barton & Guestier
Beaulieu Vineyard
Blossom Hill
Justerini & Brooks
Sterling Vineyards
Piat D'Or

Malta Guinness

Archers Aqua
Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
Smirnoff Ice
Smirnoff Black Ice
Smirnoff Raw Tea

Thanks for reading this far

David Ross,

Below is a statement issued by Kilmarnock FC

"Kilmarnock Football Club was established in 1869 and has enjoyed close ties with "Johnnie Walker", its management and employees for 140 years.

Diageo's decision to close the "Johnnie Walker" plants in Kilmarnock and Hurlford announced yesterday must be reversed and Kilmarnock Football Club will support the 800 employees whose jobs are under threat and our local politicians in their campaign to keep "Johnnie Walker" in Kilmarnock where it was founded in 1820.

"Johnnie Walker" belongs in Kilmarnock and, in the same way that Diageo bowed to tradition and heritage last autumn in keeping the production of Guinness in Dublin, they must do the same for this community. The town of Kilmarnock has suffered huge job losses over the last twenty years and it's time that major corporations such as Diageo took a close look at how they are treating the people of Kilmarnock who have served them so well for generations in developing brands such as "Johnnie Walker". This is an opportunity for Diageo to show that its awareness of social responsibility extends beyond the responsible consumption of alcohol and that it has the desire to reward the loyalty "Johnnie Walker" has enjoyed from a whole community for almost 200 years.

Michael Johnston, Chairman, Kilmarnock Football Club"
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Postby Skyline Drifter » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:39 am

I don't think there's a single drink on that list that I drink or have ever drunk, apart perhaps from a very occasional Talisker when I was much younger.

It would appear I've been waaaay ahead of you in boycotting Diageo for some time!
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Postby bobby s » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:31 am

Skyline Drifter wrote:I don't think there's a single drink on that list that I drink or have ever drunk, apart perhaps from a very occasional Talisker when I was much younger.

It would appear I've been waaaay ahead of you in boycotting Diageo for some time!

Spooky, me too.
It's the Hope I can't stand
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Postby lbb » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:10 am

I've heard it suggested that Diageo (who made a £1.6 billion profit last year) are looking for some 'financial assistance' to make them stay in Kilmarnock - ditto the shipyards 'under threat' in Glasgow. I hope there is some truth to this as the alternative is too depressing to think about.

Sadly, we live in a society now where more effort is made to protect the rights of unseen shareholders than the rights of those who created the wealth in the first place. This worship of Mammon creates evil like 12-year-olds making clothes for Tesco and the displacement and dispossession of workers all over the world - just as the Bible says it would. Amen.

I wish all involved every success in their campaign.
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Postby the hibLOG » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:33 am

God I'm going to struggle to give up the Piat D'Or, David...


Luckily I don't think I'm a Rumple Minze sort of guy either though... :?
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Postby LEATHERSTOCKING » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:42 am

I`m now at the age when Pinot More is a more a wish than a drink. Pass the incontinence pants Cliff.
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