Village of the Drammed

Our Artisan Distillery

About Japanese Whisky


A basic history of Scotch whisky

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.