Though there is little hard evidence, Robert Haig was said to have operated the earliest whisky distillery and certainly the earliest ever referenced. It was in 1655, that he was frowned upon by church elders for using his still on the Sabbath and was summoned to appear before the Kirk Session. In 1824, one of his descendents, John Haig, built the Cameron Bridge distillery in Windygates in the Lowlands and it was one of the first distilleries to produce grain whisky. The Haig Gold blend was released around this time. John’s cousin, Robert Stein built the first continuous still. In 1877, Cameron Bridge merged with five whisky companies, forming Distillers Company Ltd and John Haig was one of the directors. In 1919, John Haig & Co was purchased by Distillers Company Ltd. During the early 1990s, £9 million was spent on renovating the distillery and it reopened in 2000. Cameron Bridge is, today, a decidedly colossal distillery with a capacity of over 30 million litres annually. A single grain whisky is released from the distillery and bottled as Cameron Brig. There have been both independent releases as well as the official bottling. Today, Cameron Bridge is set for gin production following the closure of Gordon’s gin distillery in Essex. The Haig brand lives on today with the Dimple range of blended whiskies. Remember the motto, ‘don’t be vague, ask for Haig!’.
Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde