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Our history

Renowned for their philanthropic works, our predecessor companies – Guinness, Grand Metropolitan, Seagram and Justerini & Brooks – are great icons of the drinks world. Diageo has inherited not only their famous brands, but also their ideals and ethos which run through everything we do today.

  1. 1608 Licence granted to Bushmills area of County Antrim, Ireland
  2. 1749 Our oldest predecessor company, Justerini & Brooks – wine merchants, and blenders of the famous JεB whisky range – is founded in London
  3. 1759 Arthur Guinness signs 9,000-year lease on the now world-famous St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin
  4. 1820 John Walker’s grocery business opens in Kilmarnock, Scotland
  5. 1830 Charles Tanqueray opens a gin distillery in London
  6. 1864 PA Smirnoff opens a distillery in Russia and begins making his own vodka
  7. 1883 Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. is formed in Ontario, Canada
  8. 1930s Seagram runs first ads promoting responsible drinking
  9. 1939 Crown Royal is created to celebrate the historic visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada
  10. 1974 Launch of Baileys, widely regarded as the industry’s most successful product launch ever
  11. 1982 Grand Metropolitan sets up Tomorrow’s People which has helped over 400,000 unemployed and young people in deprived neighbourhoods
  12. 1989 Guinness UDV and Grand Metropolitan are founding members of the Portman Group, which promotes responsible marketing in the United Kingdom – Diageo now supports 18 such social aspect groups worldwide
  13. 1991 Grand Metropolitan and Guinness are among the founding members of The Century Council, a not-for-profit group funded by distillers to promote responsible drinking in North America
  14. 1992 Grand Metropolitan sets up The Foyer Federation to meet the challenge of rising youth unemployment and homelessness
  15. 1994 Grand Metropolitan is a founder member of the London Benchmarking Group, which aims to improve the measurement, management, and reporting of community investment

    Guinness UDV and Grand Metropolitan are founding members of the International Center for Alcohol Policies, whose mission is to encourage dialogue and pursue partnerships involving the beverage alcohol industry, governments, and the public health community with the aim of helping reduce alcohol abuse around the world
  16. 1997 Diageo is established by a merger between Guinness UDV and Grand Metropolitan

    Diageo launches the Diageo Foundation

    Diageo signs the Dublin Principles providing ethical guidance to all concerned with alcohol consumption
  17. 2001 Diageo acquires the Seagram spirits and wines business
  18. 2002 Diageo signs the UN Global Compact
  19. 2003 Diageo writes its first social/environmental report, leading the industry
  20. 2006 Diageo joins the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and makes its first annual submission

    Diageo launches it Water of Life programme in response to the UN 2015 Millennium Development Goals
  21. 2008 Diageo publicly launches challenging environmental targets

    Diageo launches

    Diageo signs the CEO Water Mandate

    Diageo launches Learning for Life, its flagship community investment programme in Latin America and Caribbean
  22. 2010 Together with other international beverage alcohol producers, Diageo commits to Global Actions on Harmful Drinking, a set of global and local initiatives dedicated to helping reduce the harmful use of alcohol with an emphasis on lowand middle-income countries.

    Diageo acquires Serengeti Breweries Limited, Tanzania
  23. 2011 Diageo launches its Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy

    Diageo signs the Cancun Communiqué

    Diageo joins the CDP Supply Chain Project

    Diageo acquires Mey İçki, Turkey
  24. 2012 Diageo gains control of Sichuan Shuijingfang Co., Ltd in China (principal brand: Shui Jing Fang Chinese white spirit)

    Diageo acquires 100% of the equity share capital of Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia (principal brand: Meta beer)

    Diageo acquires 100% of the equity share capital of Ypióca Bebidas S.A., in Brazil (principal brand: Ypióca cachaça)
  25. 2013 Diageo signs Women’s Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative between UN Women and the UN Global Compact.

    Diageo joins 12 other industry leaders in signing the CEO Global Commitments to reduce harmful drinking.

    Diageo acquires 25.02% equity interest in United Spirits Limited, India