First taxation of alcohol in Scotland
The first taxation of uisge beatadid not occur before another century. In 1644, the first excise law was voted by the Scottish Parliament. In those days, the production was already that important that during the years with poor harvests, there was not enough barley left for people to eat, because the major part of the harvests was used by the (official or not) distilleries, The first tax was intended to cover the financial needs of the Royalist Army.
The birth of the industrial distilleries.
During the 17th century, the stills used for the distillation of uisge beatawere rather small and most of the time they were found in private houses. Their capacity did not exceed 20 to 50 gallons. The industrial distilleries appeared at the end of the 17th century.
One of the first ones belonged to Duncan Forbes of Culladen. He used to produce alcohol on this estate Ferintosh, and the name of his uisge beata was considered as a synonym of "good alcohol" for many years. All this happened on a background of war with England and.
A treaty between Scotland and England signed in 1707 stipulated that the taxes on alcohol has to be the same on both sides of the border. In addition, a tax on malts was introduced in Scotland in 1713. This tax existed in England, but was not part of the treaty. This resulted in very violent demonstrations. The residence of Daniel Campbell of Showfield has been devastated and 11 people living with him were killed during one of this protest actions. As a compensation, the City of Glasgow paid a sum of 9000 pounds. With that money, he purchased the Isle of Islay.
First consequences of the tax on the malt
One of the first effects of this new tax on the malt was an important decrease in the consumption of ale, which was also made from malt, and an increase of consumption of brandy and home made alcohols.
Another consequence was the introduction of non malted grain in the composition of uisge beata in those days, with the natural decrease in quality for the resulting alcohol.