The Story of Walkers

What’s teatime without a treat? Shortbread, cookies (or “biscuits” as the British say), tarts, mince pies and more have been satisfying tea drinkers for centuries. Walkers has been a premier brand, supplying taste-pleasing tidbits since 1898.

Affordable, rich-tasting, and full of British tradition — what more could you want to tickle your teatime tastebuds? You’ll find them all in Walkers. I’ve been enjoying their Shortbread Fingers for over 15 years. They go with a variety of teas, from Irish Breakfast (usually 100% Assam and having a rich, malty taste that comes through even when you add milk and sweetener) to Chai Green to a delicate white tea. Their mince pies (a Christmas-time favorite) are totally addictive.

Irish Breakfast Tea

Joseph Walker, being a true Scotsman, knew the goodness of shortbread. From the days of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the mid 16th century, when she frequently ate a thin, crisp, buttery shortbread flavored with caraway seeds, shortbread has grown in popularity in Scotland and across the British Empire (at one time so widespread around the globe that the sun never set on it). That empire is no more, but shortbread is as popular as ever, thanks to Walker.

Starting with a small bakery, Walker soon became the supplier of shortbread to shooting parties on estates nearby. They would even go out of their way to stop at his shop for a fresh batch. He soon expanded to a larger shop in Aberlour, a village in Speyside (where the river Spey flows through a richly verdant valley) and added horse-and-cart delivery.

The business grew into a real family affair, with sons James and Joseph getting involved in the 1930s. They introduced new cakes and confections and expanded delivery range by switching to vans. James’ two sons and his daughter all joined the fray by 1961. Surviving through two World Wars, they grew into an exporter, supplying over 60 countries with their teatime treats and winning three Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement.

The range of Walkers products, in their distinctive red tartan package, has grown to include:

  • Plain Shortbread in several shapes: Fingers, Petticoat Tails, Triangles, Rounds, and Rings
  • Flavored Shortbread: Ginger, Chocolate Chip
  • Biscuits (cookies): Ginger
  • Crisps (what we call chips) made with fresh potatoes and in a variety of flavors (Steak & Onion, Pickled Onion, Salt & Vinegar, etc.)
  • Healthy treats like oatcakes (great with cheese, jams, or fruit) — in 2002 by Royal Warrant of Appointment, Walkers became the official supplier of oatcakes to her Majesty the Queen. Walkers products are fit for royalty
  • Special diet products that conform to standards of Weight Watchers
  • Baked goods: fruit tarts, fruit cakes, meringues, and mince pies

Still committed to ingredients that include real butter (not the less expensive margarine used by competitors), Walkers continues to please customers and add a note of sweet and salty deliciousness to teatime tables.

Think I’ll go dunk one of their “biscuits” in a nice hot “cuppa” now. Enjoy!

Irish Breakfast + Shortbread Fingers + A.C.’s blog = Time Well Spent!

6 thoughts on “The Story of Walkers

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