1204 – ‘customary dues at the ports’, should be accounted directly to the State Exchequer, and payable to King John. Legislation concerning Customs can be traced to King Edward the First (1272-1307)

1298 - ‘custodes custumae’ were appointed in certain ports to take direct charge of the collection of Customs for the crown.

1494 – First written record of the production of aqua vitae by a Friar John Cor for the Scottish Royal Court.

To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae VIII bolls of malt.” — Exchequer Rolls 1494–95, Vol x, p. 487

1505 – Barber Surgeons in Edinburgh granted charter to sell whisky.

1577 – Raphael Holinshead writes his Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland; extolling the value of uisge beatha

1590 – First recorded export of whisky to Ireland

1608 – Licence granted to produce whiskey at Bushmills in Ireland by King James I

1643 – The regulation of the collection of Customs was entrusted to a parliamentary committee whose members were appointed commissioners and collectors of Customs, forming in effect a Board of Customs.

The  Board of Excise was established by the new puritan Cromwell’s Long Parliament, to organize the collection of Duties in London and the provinces.

The first Excise tax in the British Isles was levied at 8d per gallon. At first  a wide range of commodities was covered, but when the Duties were extended beyond the districts which parliament controlled, to cover the whole country, they were confined to alcoholic liquor only. – Bruichladdich 2009

Originally intended for one year only, it has remained to this day.

1644 -  The Scottish Covenanting parliament introduced the Malt Tax

It was an unpopular piece of legislation and was incredibly difficult to collect. The tax remained in force until 1707. The Scots Parliament passed an Excise Act fixing the Duty at  the equivalent of 13p per pint  of aquavitae or other strong liquor – the Scots pint being approximately one third of a gallon or 1.5 litres! For the remainder of the 17th century various alterations were made to the types and amounts of Duty collected. – Bruichladdich 2009

1660 – Excise Duty was settled by statute despite widespread protest in 1660.

1675 – Robert Boyle describes and idea for a new type of hydrometer

1683 - A permanent Board of Excise for England and Wales was established  with separate Boards for Ireland in 1682, and Scotland in 1707.

1688 - Malt tax increased considerably as first duty on alcoholic strength is enforced

1689 – Ferintosh Distillery is burnt down by supporters of James II

1690 – The earliest reference to a specific distillery in the Acts of the Scottish Parliament appears, when mention is made of the famous Ferintosh distillery (on the Black Isle, near Inverness) owned by Duncan Forbes of Culloden

1704 - Cromwell’s Malt Tax lifted from Scotland for the duration of the War of the Spanish Succession to 1714

1707 – After the Act of Union of Parliaments,  . The Scottish Excise Board, manned by English officials, was established in Edinburgh to harmonise Duties in British Isles. English revenue inspectors (gaugers) began their arduous attempt to bring whisky production under control.   Illicit distilling flourished, the smugglers seeing no good reason for paying for the privilege of making their native drink, the tax being seen as an English imposition. Smuggling (from the German for importing illegally) became an acceptable practice for some 150 years to come. Islay was exempt from paying any taxation or excise to the Crown as “In Farm” Duties were paid instead directly to the laird of the island for the next 100 years.

1714 – Malt Tax reinstated. The variance in measurements often found Scotland unfairly taxed, the Scots rioted and much blood was shed in the resulting military suppression.

1725 - Glasgow Malt Tax Riots – 14  shot dead by the Army under General Wade after threats to stone Excise officers. The matter was finally settled by imposing a malt duty at half the English rate.

1738 – First known reference to ‘whisky’ a corruption of ‘Usige Beatha’.

1741 – Cambusbarron distillery, founded

1751 – Gilcomston Distillery, Aberdeen founded

1752 – Portee Distillery, founded

1755 – Dunbeath Distillery, founded

1757 – Kilbeggan Distillery is possibly founded?

1758 – Robert (Rabbie) Burns is born

1760 – Ferintosh Disitllery (Black Isle) producing 2/3 of all legally produced whisky in Scotland

1765 – Langholm Distillery, founded

1770 – Dundashill Distillery, founded

1770 – Yoker Distillery, founded

1772 – Littlemill Distillery founded

1775 – Glenturret Distillery founded

1775 – American War of Independence began

1777 – Kennetpans Distillery, founded

1777 – Kilbagie Distillery, founded

1777 – only 8 licensed distilleries were contributing to the revenue of the United Kingdom,

nearly 400 unregistered stills were thought to operate within the City of Edinburgh alone. The operations of illicit distillers in the remote Highlands and Islands of Scotland was vast.  High taxation discouraged producers from taking out licenses. – Bruichladdich 2009

1778 – 300,000 gallons (1.3m litres) estimated annually smuggled to England tax free.

1779 – Malt Tax raised

1779 – Justrini & Justerini sell whisky in London

1779 – Bowmore distillery founded

1780 - Malt tax raised

1780 -Blackhall Distillery, founded

1780 – Canonmills Distillery, founded

1780 - Hattonburn Distillery, founded

1780 – Kincaple Distillery, founded

1780 – Lochrin Distillery, founded

1780 – Underwood Distillery, founded

1781 – Home distilling was legal for personal use, but not for resale – This is taxed for the first time. Excess production had been sold, swapped or used to pay the rent. A four fold return on the raw ingredients was too irresistible.

1782 – Malt tax raised

1783 – America gains independance

1783 – Glenmavis Distillery, founded

1783 – Pitheven Distillery, founded

1784 - The Wash Act of 1784 lowered Duties in England and the Scottish Lowlands.

The fermented wash itself was now taxed, in contrast to the Highlands, where the tax was on the still capacity. The ‘Highland Line’ was drawn with whisky not allowed to be moved across it.  A consequence of the Wash Act was an enormous increase of legal production in the Lowlands. A good part of these spirits were exported to England and this caused alarm with the London gin distillers. Licences of £50 – Bruichladdich 2009

1784 – John Jameson started distilling in Dublin

1785 - Linton Distillery, founded

1785 – Stonnywood Distillery, founded

1786 - Gorbals Distillery, founded

1786 – Grange, Alloa Distillery, founded

1786 – St Clement’s Wells Distillery, founded

1786 – Strathisla distillery founded

1786 – As a result of London Gin distillers’ lobbying, the Government passed the Scotch Distillery Act.

The Act imposed an extra Duty on spirits exported to England expanded the tax on still capacity to the whole of Scotland, and abandoning the tax on wash. This increase in Duty made it much harder for the Scottish distillers to operate in the English market. An unforeseen consequence on the implementation of the tax on still capacity, was the development by the Lowland distilleries of a shallow still which could be ‘worked off’ in minutes rather than hours. The quality of the spirit was very poor, but inconsequential  if the spirit was to be rectified into gin.- Bruichladdich 2009 or see Google Books

1788 – Lowland Licence Act was passed. This act required Scottish distilleries wanting to operate on the English market to give 12 months’ notice. This meant a prohibition on exporting Scottish spirits to England. Bankruptcies of several of the larger Lowland distilleries were the result.

Increased Duties in wines and spirits to fund the Napoleonic Wars resulted in widespread smuggling which resulted in  more effective policing by both Customs and Excise.

1789 – French revolution starts

1790 – Balblair distillery founded

1791 – In the USA excise duty was passed to help pay off the $79million debt from the war with the British.

1791 – A recently appointed tax collector in the USA named Robert Johnson was tarred and feathered by a disguised gang in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

1792 – William Findley, a congressman in The USA from western Pennsylvania, managed to get a 1-cent reduction in the USA excise tax.

1793 – France declared war on Britain on 1 February 1793, lasting 22 years as two wars:

French Revolutionary Wars 1793-1802

Napoleonic Wars 1803-15

1793 – Duty tripled

1794 – Ardbeg distillery founded

1794 – The tension climaxes in the American whiskey rebelion, fighting ensues

1794 – Oban distillery founded

1794 – Bridge of Don Distillery is built

1794 – Reverend Archibald Robertson (Church of Scotland Minister for Kildalton) “This island hath the liberty of brewing whisky, without being under the necessity of paying the usual excise duty to government. We have not an excise officer in the whole island. The quantity therefore of whisky made here is great; and the evil that follows drinking to excess of the liquor, is very visible on this island”

1795 – St Magdalene distillery founded

1795 – In January, the Dutch enter the war on the French side.

1795 – Duty doubled

1796 – Robert Burns dies

1796 – In October, Spain declares war on Britain

1797 – Glen Garioch distillery founded

1797 – George Washington, First President of the USA starts distilling whiskey.

1798 – Rosebank distillery founded

1798 – Tobermory distillery founded

1798 – Highland Park distillery founded

1798 – Blair Athol distillery founded

1799 – End of the French Revolution

1800 – Duty Doubled

1805 – Seager Evans is founded.

1804 – Duty increased

1807 – Millburn distillery founded

1810 – Glenburgie distillery founded

1810 – Jura distillery founded

1810 – Laphroaig distillery founded

1811 – Duty Increased

1812 – Royal Brackla distillery founded

1814 – Matthew Gloag starts up as a whisky merchant in Perth.

1814 – Duty Increased

1816 – Small Stills Act allowing distillers to use still stills of not less than 40 gallons or 180 litres

1816 – Lagavulin distillery founded

1817 – The Excise laws were in such a hopeless state of confusion that no two distilleries were taxed at the same rate. Violent crime prevalent. A Royal Commission on Customs and Excise was appointed to inquire into existing regulations. A radical overhaul of the Excise laws was to follow in 1823.

1817 – Teaninich distillery founded

1817 – Bladnoch distillery founded

1819 -  Malt Tax rates standardised throughout Britain.

1819 – Brora distillery founded

1820 – Up to 14,000 illicit stills were being confiscated every year, more than half the whisky consumed in Scotland was being drunk without Duty being paid. The 4th Duke of Gordon proposed in the House of Lords, in exchange for the landowners pledging co-operation in putting down smuggling, that the Government should make it profitable to produce whisky legally.

1820 – North Port distillery founded

1820 – John Walker opens a grocery and wine & spirits store in Kilmarnock

1821 – Linkwood distillery founded

1822 – Act  passed to substantially increase the penalties for smuggling.

1823 – After a lengthy Royal Commission, the Excise Act of 1823 (or Wash Act) sanctioned legal distilling at a Duty equivalent today of 12p per gallon (4.5 litres) for stills with a capacity of more than 40 gallons (180 litres) only. There was a licence fee of £10 annually and no stills under the legal capacity were allowed. The first of 111 distilleries came into ‘official’ existence in the following year (there were 14,000 prosecutions as a result of activity from  troops and customs revenue Cutters ordered to the Scottish islands). Smuggling died out almost completely over the next ten years. Many of the older present day distilleries stand on sites used by previous smugglers. These Excise changes are still with us today: a much reduced flat-rate still-licence, with Duty levied on the volume of alcohol produced. It was 11 years later that officers, fearing a revolt,  plucked up courage to land on Islay.

1823 – Auchentoshan distillery founded

1823 – Mortlach distillery founded

1824 – Distillers were allowed to store whisky Duty Free

1824 – Macallan distillery founded

1824 – Glenlivet distillery founded

1824 – Banff distillery founded

1824 – Cardhu distillery founded

1824 – Miltonduff distillery founded

1824 – Fettercairn distillery founded

1824 – Balmenach distillery founded

1825 – Port Ellen distillery founded

1825 – Ben Nevis distillery founded

1825 – Edradour distillery founded

1825 – Glencadam distillery founded

1825 – Glenury Royal distillery founded

1825 – A further 152 distilleries licensed, bringing total to 263

1826 – Robert Stein invents a patent for continuous distilling.

1826 - Glendronach distillery founded

1826 – Pulteney distillery founded

1826 – Benrinnes distillery founded

1827 – the introduction of a new Malt Act that listed 101 penalties for transgressors but also further complicated already labyrinthine regulations. Ropbert Stein patents forerunner of continuous still.

1827 – George Ballantine opens a grocery and wine store in Edinburgh.

1828 – Springbank distillery founded

1828 – J & A Mitchell & Co is founded.

1830 – William Teacher opens a spirits shop in Glasgow.

1830 – Talisker distillery founded

1830 - Aeneas Coffey (ex Excise Officer) patents the Coffey Still in his Dock Distillery, Dublin

1831 – Justerini & Brooks formed.

1831 – Glenugie distillery founded

1832 – Glen Scotia distillery founded

1833 - A Royal Commission on Excise was appointed by Letters Patent to inquire into the establishment of the Board of Excise, and into the management of a collection of Excise revenue, and uniting the separate boards of Excise for England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland with a single Board of Excise covering the entire United Kingdom.

1833 – Glengoyne distillery founded

1834 - Excise Officers (“gaugers”) finally arrive on Islay but are ignored. Coastline patrols for caves with still are ineffective owing to lack of surprise.

1835-40 Distilling industry collapse: 230 distilleries reduced to 169

1836 – Glenfarclas distillery founded

1837 – Glenkinchie distillery founded

1838 – Glen Ord distillery founded

1839 – Dalmore distillery founded

1840 – Glen Grant distillery founded

1841 – James Chivas opens a grocery and spirits store in Aberdeen.

1842 – William Cadenhead Ltd is formed.

1843 – Glenmorangie distillery founded

1844 – Glen Albyn distillery founded

1845 – Royal Lochnagar distillery founded

1846 – John Dewar is established as a wine and spirit merchant in Perth.

1846 – Caol Ila distillery founded

1849 – the Board of Excise combined with the Board of Stamps and Taxes to become the Board of Inland Revenue.

1840 – the Duty was 2.5p in today’s terms, per bottle.

1852 – Dailuaine distillery founded

1853 – Andrew Usher & co start to produce blended whisky.

1857 – Joseph Seagram & Sons is established.

1858 – John and James Chivas establish Chivas brothers.

1865 – Scotch Distillers Association formed from eight lowland grain distilleries.

1869 – Cragganmore distillery founded

1870 – Phylloxera Vastrix destroys the vineyards of France, increasing the demand for whisky.

1871 – Inchgower distillery founded

1874 – The North of Scotland Malt Distillers Association formed.

1875 – Glenglassaugh distillery founded

1875 – William Teacher & Sons formed

1876 – Glenlossie distillery founded

1877 – Distillers Company Limited (DCL) is formed by six-grain distilleries – Port Dundas, Carsebridge, Cameronbridge, Glenochil, Cambus.

1878 – Glenrothes distillery founded

1879 – Aberlour distillery founded

1880 – Malt Tax repealed

1881 – Bruichladdich distillery founded

1881 – Bunnahabhain distillery founded

1882 – Whyte & Mackay founded.

1885 – North British distillers company formed.

1885 – Scapa distillery founded

1886 – Glenfiddich distillery founded

1886 – John Walker & Sons founded.

1886 – William Grant & Sons founded.

1888 – Haig & Haig founded.

1890 – Mackie & Co founded by Peter Mackie.

1891 – Strathmill distillery founded

1891 – Craigellachie distillery founded

1892 – Glen Mhor distillery founded

1892 – Balvenie distillery founded

1893 – Knockdhu distillery founded

1893 – Macdonald & Muir founded.

1894 – Convalmore distillery founded

1894 – Longmorn distillery founded

1895 – Gordon & MacPhail founded.

1895 – Arthur Bell & Sons founded.

1896 – Aberfeldy distillery founded

1896 – Tamdhu distillery founded

1896 – The Grouse whisky is established by Matthew Gloag & Son.

1896 – Dufftown distillery founded

1896 – Aultmore distillery founded

1897 – Imperial distillery founded

1897 - Coleburn distillery founded

1897 – Glen Esk distillery founded

1897 – Speyburn distillery founded

1897 – Glentauchers distillery founded

1897 – Tomatin distillery founded

1897 - Caperdonich distillery founded

1897 – Glen Moray distillery founded

1897 - Dalwhinnie distillery founded

1897 – Glendullan distillery founded

1897 – Benriach distillery founded

1898 – Ardmore distillery founded

1898 – Dallas Dhu distillery founded

1898 – Benromach distillery founded

1898 – Glenlochy distillery founded

1898 – Glen Elgin distillery founded

1898 – Knockando distillery founded

1898 – The Pattison crash. Whisky recession starts forcing the closure of many distilleries over the next decade.

1908 – the management of Duties of Excise and of the powers and Duties of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue transferred to the Commissioners of Customs  thenceforth called The Commissioners of Customs and Excise.

1909 - The Customs and Excise Services were amalgamated and were administered by the Board of Customs and Excise and became known as Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise, directly responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  The Board is also responsible for the prevention and detection of smuggling, illicit distillation and other evasions of tax laws. Policy on Duty rates is decided by the Excise Policy Group which is part of the Excise and Central Policy Directorate.

1914 – Duty had risen to the equivalent of 9p per bottle.

1914 - Scottish Malt Distillers is founded by the distilleries – Clydesdale, Glenkinchie, Rosebank, St. Magdeline and Grange.

1916 – Law passed that whisky must be bonded for three years prior to bottling.

1917 - DCL acquires J & G Stewart.

1919 – John Haig & Co and Andrew Usher & Co join DCL.

1920 – Prohibition starts in the United States.

1924 – Mackie & Co change name to White Horse Distillers.

1925 – DCL buys Scottish Malt Distillers.

1927 - White Horse Distillers is acquired by DCL.

1928 – Distillers Corporation of Canada buy Seagram’s.

1933 – The end of prohibition.

1935 – Hiram Walker purchases Ballantines.

1936 – Seager Evans acquires Long John International.

1936 – Lundy & Morrison buy Chivas Brothers.

1937 – Hiram Walker (Scotland) is formed.

1938 - Inverleven distillery founded

1939 – Duty had risen to the equivalent of 48p per bottle.

1941 - SS Polition is lost with a cargo of whisky off of the Isle of Eriskay.

1943 – Berry Brothers changes name to Berry Brothers & Rudd.

1949 – Tullibardine distillery founded

1949 – Seagram’s purchase Chivas Brothers.

1950 – Seagram’s buy Strathisla distillery.

1950 – Douglas Laing formed.

1951 – Morrison Bowmore Distillers founded.

1956 – Inver House Distillers founded.

1956 – Seager Evans acquired by Schenley Industries.

1957 – Glen Keith distillery founded

1957 – Kinclaith distillery founded

1957 – Lochside distillery founded

1958 – Tormore distillery founded

1959 – Schenley buys Gordon Graham, owners of Black Bottle.

1960 – The Edrington Company is founded.

1960 – The Scotch Whisky Association is formed.

1960 – Whyte & Mackay acquires Dalmore distillery.

1961 – Allied Breweries formed.

1962 – Seager Evans becomes owner of Laphroaig.

1962 – Macduff distillery founded

1964 – Inver House Distillers becomes a subsidiary to Publicker Industries.

1964 – Glen Flagler distillery founded

1964 – Tomintoul distillery founded

1965 – Invergordon distillers formed.

1965 – Loch Lomond distillery founded

1965 – Deanston distillery founded

1965 – Ben Wyvis distillery founded

1966 – Tamnavulin distillery founded

1966 – Ladyburn distillery founded

1967 – Clynelish distillery founded

1967 – Glenallachie distillery founded

1969 – Seager Evans changes name to Long John International.

1970 – Highland Distillers acquires Matthew Gloag & Sons.

1971 – Mannochmore distillery founded

1972 – Watney Mann along with International Distillers & Vinters is acquired by Grand Metropolitan

1973 – Braeval distillery founded

1974 – Auchroisk distillery founded

1974 – Pittyvaich distillery founded

1975 – Allt-a-Bhainne distillery Founded

1975 – Whitbread & Company acquire Long John International.

1976 – Speyside distillery founded

1978 – Seagram’s Ltd purchase Glenlivet Distillers.

1981 – Allied Lyons becomes the new name of Allied Breweries.

1985 – Bells acquired by the Guinness Group.

1987 – Guinness buys DCL, who merge with Bells to become United Distillers.

1987 – Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessey merge into LVMH.

1988 – Signatory is founded.

1988 – Management buyout of Inver House from Publicker Industries.

1989 – Allied Lyons acquire Whitbread’s wine and spirits division.

1990 – Fortune Brands purchase Whyte & Mackay.

1991 – Allied Lyons buy Long John International and Laphroiag from Whitbread.

1992 – After a succession of Duty increases the Duty had arrived at £5.55 per bottle.

1993 – Arran distillery founded

1993 – Gordon & MacPhail purchase Benromach distillery.

1993 – Whyte & Mackay acquire Invergordon Distillers.

1994 – Allied Lyons acquires Pedro Domecq and change name to Allied Domecq.

1997 – Guinness and Grand Metropolitan merge to form Diageo.

1997 – United Distillers sell Balmenach to Inver House.

1997 – Ardbeg Distillery is purchased and re-opened by Glenmorangie PLC.

1998 – Bacardi acquire Dewars from Diageo.

1999 – The Edrington Group and William Grant & Sons buy Highland Distillers.

2001 – Pernod Ricard and Diageo buy Seagram’s spirits & wines.

2001 – Murray Mcdavid purchase Bruichladdich from Whyte & Mackay.

2001 – Inver House Distillers acquire by InterBev.

2004 – LVMH purchase Glenmorangie PLC (Ardbeg, Glenmorangie and Glen Moray distilleries)

2004 - Glengyle distillery founded

2005 - Pernod Ricard acquires Allied Domecq.

2005 – Daftmill distillery founded

2005 – Kilchoman distillery, Islay founded

2006 – St George Distillery, Norfolk founded

2007 – United Spirits part of Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries Group purchases Whyte & Mackay.

2008 – Glen Moray sold to LaMartiniquaise.

2008 – After another Duty increase, the Duty on a 70cl bottle at 46% is now £6.8747.1203

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