The John Barr Story

Here is an old Johnnie Walker advertisement with the John Barr bottle.

John Barr Cumming was a whisky trader from yesteryear. His family background dates back to the Speyside region in the 19th century. The Brand became known in 1977/1978 when it replaced Johnnie Walker Red Label in the UK following the EEC ruling on pricing and taxes. At that time the EEC ruled in favour of the free flows of goods and JW’s owners at the time (Distillers Co.Ltd) decided to vastly increase the JW prices, effectively pricing itself out of the market for a while. Almost immediately, Distillers Co.Ltd introduced John Barr Blends with very similar quality, packaging and bottles in order to keep their customers satisfied. Eventually, the Brand name was acquired in 1986 by John Barr & Company of Glasgow, part of the Whyte & Mackay Group. The John Barr Blend was created by Richard Paterson, W&M’s Master Blender. Speyside Malts are said to be at the heart of this Blend of 40 Grain – and Malt whiskies. John Barr Red sells at between 15 and 30 US Dollars. There are also Gold, Black and Blue versions of this Blend.