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The Glenlivet

After the 1823 Excise Act, George Smith became the first distiller in the Highlands to obtain a license for distillation and, in 1824, he established The Glenlivet on what was once a farm distillery called Upper Drummin. Many of the neighbouring distilleries were illegally run and involved in smuggling. They became indignant, for George Smith was running Glenlivet by legal means. Such was the tempest of their fury that George had to carry a pair pistols for protection.

Originally 'Gow', the family name became the more Anglo-sounding 'Smith' following Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 1746 defeat at the battle of Culloden. The Gows changed their name to escape the resultant subjugation which ensued. The Glenlivet has always been a name associated with quality, to such a degree that other distilleries would use the name, no matter how distant they were from the Livet glen.

To help preserve his brand, George Smith’s son, John Gordon Smith, applied for sole rights to the name, which were granted in 1884. The name still crops up elsewhere. However, by law, other brands must hyphenate it with their own names and cannot use it solely. The large distillery, with a capacity of 5.8 million litres per annum, is owned by Chivas Brothers, themselves a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard. Today, The Glenlivet is the world’s second best-selling single malt and is the top seller in the US.

The Glenlivet Whisky Distillery

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About The Glenlivet Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01340 821720

Distillery Founded

1824

1859

1859 – Upper Drummin and Cairngorm close and all equipment is brought to Minmore which is renamed The Glenlivet Distillery.

Distillery Capacity

5 800 000 litres

Distillery Status

Active

Distillery Address

Ballindalloch, Banffshire AB37 9DB

Distillery Owner

Chivas Brothers

Distillery Address

Minmore, Ballindalloch, Banffshire

Distillery Website

www.theglenlivet.com

1817

George Smith inherits the farm distillery Upper Drummin from his father Andrew Smith who has been distilling on the site since 1774.

1840

George Smith buys Delnabo farm near Tomintoul and leases Cairngorm Distillery. His son William takes over operations at Upper Drummin.

1845

George Smith leases three other farms, one of which is situated on the river Livet and is called Minmore.

1846

William Smith develops tuberculosis and his brother John Gordon moves back home to assist his father. Sales of Smith’s Glenlivet increases steadily and neither Upper Drummin nor Cairngorm Distillery can meet demand.

1864

George Smith cooperates with the whisky agent Andrew P. Usher and exports the whisky with great success.

1871

George Smith dies and his son John Gordon takes over.

1880

John Gordon Smith applies for and is granted sole rights to the name The Glenlivet. Only Glenlivet Distillery may thus use the name. All distilleries wishing to use Glenlivet in their names must from now hyphenate it with their brand names.

1890

A fire breaks out and some of the buildings are replaced.

1896

Another two stills are installed.

1901

John Gordon Smith dies.

1904

John Gordon’s nephew George Smith Grant takes over.

1921

Captain Bill Smith Grant, son of George Smith Grant, takes over.

1953

George & J. G. Smith Ltd merges with J. & J. Grant of Glen Grant Distillery and forms the company Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers Ltd.

1966

Floor maltings closes.

1970

Glenlivet & Glen Grant Distillers Ltd merges with Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd and Hill Thomson & Co. Ltd to form The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd.

1978

Seagrams buys The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. A visitor centre opens.

1996

– The visitor centre is expanded, and a multimedia facility installed.

2000

French Oak 12 years and American Oak 12 years are launched

2001

Pernod Ricard and Diageo buy Seagram Spirits & Wine. Pernod Ricard thereby gain control of the Chivas group.

2004

This year sees a lavish relaunch of

2005

Two new duty-free versions are introduced – The Glenlivet 12 year old First Fill and Nadurra, a 16 year old non chill-filtered matured in first-fill bourbon casks. The 1972 Cellar Collection (2,015 bottles) is launched.

2006

Nadurra 16 year old cask strength and 1969 Cellar Collection are released. Glenlivet sells more than 500,000 cases for the first time in one year.

2007

Glenlivet XXV is released.

Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde

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