Scotland: Whisky & Distilleries
Balmenach distillery has been founded in 1824 by James McGregor who was a
moonshine distiller in the Tomintoul areafor years, together with
his two brothers.
However, James McGregor was one of the first distillers to apply for a licence allowing him to distil legally. From the very fisrt year of activity, his whisky has been bought by an Aberdeen company, as well as by Lord Selkirk and the Duke of Bedford.
James died in the 1870's, leaving his widow alone for running the distillery and the farm. She was not able to do this and neglected everything, including her children, as she rapidly became the best customer of the distillery.... Her son John was obliged to come back from New Zealand where is was earnig lots of money with his farm to help his mother to run the business in 1878.
John did not modify anything to his father's distillery, despite the fact that the facilities were in such a bad state of repair. The refurbishment began not earlier than 1897, when James Mcgregor, son of John became the first manager of the Balmenach-Glenlivet Distillery Ltd.
The first thing James did was building a railway to the station of Cromdale.
The distillery was closed during World War I, just as most of them.
A group of blenders (MacDonald Green, Peter Dawson and James Watson) bought the distillery in 1922. A few years later, the group became part of the Distiller Company Ldt, who left its shares to teh Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd in 1930. This group became later United Distillers, after DCL was absorbed by Guiness.
The Balmenach distillery closed again during World War II .
Electricity has been installed in 1950, and all the installations but the malt mill were supplied by it. The malting floors were replaced in 1963 by a Saladin Box
The farm was closed in 1978, and replaced by a waste processing plant which produces cattle feed.
UDV closed the distillery in 1993. On december 2 1997, Inver House took over the distillery and the production resumed on March 2 1998. However, the warehouses were empty when the distillery was taken over, and some more years will be necessary to find the first production of the distillery on the market.
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