Diageo Taps into Fan Army with 'Game of Thrones'-Themed Johnnie Walker Scotch

November 5, 2018
Updated 6d ago

By Chloe Aiello

Cheers to the army of the dead.

Alcohol company Diageo is betting it can tap into the rabid "Game of Thrones" fandom for its newest, limited-edition collection of Johnnie Walker whiskies.

"You have in scotch very devout drinkers that like to look for collectibles, and same with 'Game of Thrones.' An avid fan, like that, is constantly looking for things that are attached to the show," Dan Sanborn, Diageo's senior vice president of culture and partnerships, told Cheddar Monday.

Diageo announced a partnership in October with HBO's "Game of Thrones" on several limited-edition whiskies featuring some of the show's most prominent villains.

Johnnie Walker, a 200-year-old Scotch whisky brand, released "White Walker," in October, inspired by the show's fearsome White Walkers. At the beginning of November, the company also debuted a line of eight, high-end single malt scotches, each paired with one of "Game of Thrones'" Houses of Westeros.

"We have the ability to actually match houses with different distilleries," Sanborn explained. "Take Cardhu, which was run by women back in the 1800s at a time when women weren't even really in the industry ... we partnered it with House of Targaryen, of course, the Mother of Dragons."

Sanborn said finding ways to keep Diageo's various brands culturally relevant is a huge priority for the company. Bulleit Bourbon, for example, partnered earlier this year with the high-profile Tribeca Film Festival. Last year, Smirnoff vodka enlisted comedian/actor Ted Danson, star of NBC's "The Good Place," for short commercial hits.

"Authenticity and great stories are becoming cliche but they're a fact. We are constantly looking for ways to engage people in brands," Sanborn said.

Johnnie Walker's "White Walker" costs about $36 per bottle.

The "Game of Thrones" Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection debuted this month and costs anywhere from $30 to $65 per bottle. The final season of "Game of Thrones" is slated for release sometime in 2019.

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