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.
1590 First recorded export of whisky to Ireland
1644 The Scottish Covenanting parliament introduced the Malt Tax
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. Ferintosh distillery, the Black Isle, owned by Duncan Forbes of Culloden
1707 After the Act of Union of Parliaments the Scottish Excise Board was established in Edinburgh to harmonise Duties in British Isles. Revenue inspectors (gaugers) began their attempt to bring whisky production under control.
Illicit distilling flourished as the tax being is seen as an English imposition. Smuggling from Germany became an acceptable practice for almost 150 years. However, Islay is 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.
1725 Glasgow Malt Tax Riots – 14 shot dead by the Army under General Wade after threats to stone Excise officers. Settled by imposing a malt duty at half the English rate.
1741 Cambusbarron distillery, founded
1751 Gilcomston Distillery, Aberdeen founded
1752 Portee Distillery, founded
1755 Dunbeath Distillery, founded
1760 Ferintosh Disitllery (Black Isle) producing 2/3 of all legally produced whisky in Scotland
1765 Langholm Distillery, founded
1770 Dundashill Distillery & Yoker Distillery, founded
1772 Littlemill Distillery founded
1775 Glenturret Distillery Kennetpans Distillery & Kilbagie Distillery founded
1777 Only 8 licensed distilleries were contributing to the revenue of the United Kingdom,
A possible 400 unregistered stills were thought to operate within the City of Edinburgh.
1778 300,000 gallons (1.3m litres) estimated annually smuggled to England.
1779 Justrini & Justerini sell whisky in London
1779 Bowmore distillery founded
1780 Blackhall Distillery, Canonmills Distillery, Hattonburn Distillery, Kincaple Distillery, Lochrin Distillery, Underwood Distillery, founded
1781 Home distilling was legal for personal use, but not for resale – Is taxed for the first time. Excess production was originally sold, swapped or used to pay the rent.
1783 Glenmavis Distillery & Pitheven Distillery, founded
1784 The Wash Act of 1784 lowered Duties in England and the Scottish Lowlands.
1785 Linton Distillery, Stonnywood Distillery, founded
1786 Gorbals Distillery, Grange, Alloa Distillery, St Clement’s Wells Distillery & 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 from Scotland.
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.
1790 Balblair distillery founded
1794 Ardbeg distillery, Oban distillery & Bridge of Don distillery Founded
1795 St Magdalene distillery founded
1797 Glen Garioch distillery founded
1798 Rosebank distillery, distillery, Highland Park distillery, Blair Athol distillery founded
1807 Millburn distillery founded
1810 Glenburgie distillery, Laphroaig distillery founded
1812 Royal Brackla distillery founded
1816 Small Stills Act allowing distillers to use still stills of not less than 40 gallons or 180 litres
1816 Lagavulin distillery founded
1817 Teaninich distillery founded, Bladnoch distillery founded
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
1821 Linkwood distillery founded
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.
1823 Introduction of the Spirit Safe
1823 Auchentoshan distillery & Mortlach distillery founded
1824 Distillers were allowed to store whisky Duty Free
1824 Macallan distillery, Glenlivet distillery,Banff distillery, Cardhu distillery, Miltonduff distillery, Fettercairn distillery & Balmenach distillery founded.
1825 Port Ellen distillery, Ben Nevis distillery, Edradour distillery, Glencadam distillery & Glenury Royal distillery founded
1826 Glendronach distillery, Pulteney distillery & Benrinnes distillery founded
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
1831 Justerini & Brooks formed.
1831 Glenugie distillery founded
1832 Glen Scotia distillery founded
1833 Glengoyne distillery founded
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
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 majority of French vineyards increasing the demand forboth Scotch and Irish 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 & 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 & Craigellachie distillery founded
1892 Glen Mhor distillery & Balvenie distillery founded
1893 Knockdhu distillery founded
1893 Macdonald & Muir founded.
1894 Convalmore distillery & Longmorn distillery founded
1895 Gordon & MacPhail founded.
1895 Arthur Bell & Sons founded.
1896 Aberfeldy distillery & Tamdhu distillery founded
1896 The Grouse whisky is established by Matthew Gloag & Son.
1896 Dufftown distillery & Aultmore distillery founded
1897 Imperial distillery, Coleburn distillery, Glen Esk distillery, Speyburn distillery, Glentauchers distillery, Tomatin distillery, Caperdonich distillery, Glen Moray distillery, Dalwhinnie distillery, Glendullan distillery & Benriach distillery founded
1898 Ardmore distillery, Dallas Dhu distillery, Benromach distillery, Glenlochy distillery, Glen Elgin distillery &Knockando distillery founded
1898 The Pattison crash. Whisky recession starts forcing the closure of many distilleries over the next decade.
1906 ‘What is Whisky?’ case brought by Islington Borough Council. Magistrate court favours malt. However is taken to a Royal Commission
1908 Royal Commission decide that both grain and malt can be Scotch Whisky
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.
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
1941 SS Politician is lost with a cargo of whisky off of the Isle of Eriskay.- Inspired the book and film “Whisky Galor”e
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, Deanston distillery & Ben Wyvis distillery founded
1966 Tamnavulin distillery founded
1966 Ladyburn distillery founded
1967 Clynelish distillery & 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
1973 Braeval distillery founded
1974 Auchroisk distillery & 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 Master of Malt is formed
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.
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 & Kilchoman distillery, Islay founded
2007 United Spirits part of Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries Group purchases Whyte &
2008 Glen Moray sold to LaMartiniquaise.