Scotland: Whisky & Distilleries
Glen Scotia distillery was founded in 1832 and not in 1835 as mentioned
on the bottle, by Stewart Galbraith under the name of Scotia Distillery.
The business was very good at the end of the 19th century, and the owner had to buy another distillery in order to satisfy a growing demand. He choose the Glen Nevis distillery, also settled in Campbeltown.
Later, the Glen Scotia was taken over by W.H.M.D. (West Highland Malt Distillers), a society created in 1919 by a blender and whisky broker group. The aim was to face the crisis whisky industry crossed in the Campbeltown area in those days. This crisis was made even worse by the politics of the distilleries favouring the productivity to the detriment of the quality. The reputation of the area was getting very bad abroad. WHMD also owned Glengoyle, Dalintober, Kinloch and Ardlussa, all this distilleries being closed for a while now. Five years later, the group was bankrupt.
Duncan Mac Callum, one of the managers of WHMD decided to go on on its own, but had to close the distillery in 1928. He committed suicide in 1930 in the Campbell Loch. According to local tradition, his ghost is still haunting the distillery.
The distillery was taken over by the Bloch brothers, owner of Scapa the same year.
When business seemed to become better in the 30's, Glen Scotia was the only distillery who resumed production, because most of the 28 others had completely dismantled their installations.
The Bloch brothers sold both distilleries to Hiram Walker in 1954. Walker kept Scapa but sold Glen Scotia to A. Gilles & Co, group which became part of a blenders company called Amalgameted Distillers Products who closed the distillery in 1984 before they were taken over by Gibson International in 1989.
Glen Scotia belongs currently to the Loch Lomond Distillery company through its subsidiary company Glen Catrine Bonded. It has been mothballed from 1994 and is for sale since 1999. In the meanwhile, the distillery is ticking over under control of Springbank who produces during 3 months a year, waiting for an eventual resumption of Glen Scotia.
Even a quick visit, even without entering the buildings, of a
distillery which is supposed to be haunted is a touching experience.
That the ghost of a former manager of the distillery still walks around the distillery is not known for sure, but the mood around there does not need a ghost to be strange. The distillery itself is just a kind of ghost.
Its owner, Loch Lomond, who also owns Littlemill in the suburbs of Glasgow seems to neglect his distilleries. Nothing is sader than seing the decay state of Glen Scotia. Or perhaps the only sader thiing is the state of Littlemill...
Perchance, the only concurring distillery in town, Springbank insures Glen Scotia's production, running the business nearly 3 months a year.
Glen Scotia is also and above all an important trace of the past magnificence ot that town which called itself the world capital of whisky in the early years of 20th century.
The poetry of the cherry trees in blossom contrasts with the sad mood you feel when you to through the metal gate.... But, what a whisky!!!
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|Interactive map of the distilleries||By order of value for money||Campbeltown|