The Glenlivet Distillery
The Glenlivet distillery must remain a shrine to be visited by every true devotee of the amber liquid and any serious student of whisky lore. Its pre-license history is well known and reflects the romance and dramas of the illicit distilling years of the early 19th century.
From illicit smuggler to one of the first ever licensed distillers in 1824 following the passing of the Excise Act the previous year, George Smith of Upper Drummin, with a little help from his powerful landlord, the Duke of Gordon, quickly established himself as the premier distiller of the glens. A new distillery was built at Minmore in 1858 called Glenlivet and that has remained its home ever since.
Such was Glenlivet’s reputation that many Speyside distilleries hyphenated their own names with the Glenlivet suffix, and so the Smiths adopted the definite article as a prefix to create The Glenlivet. The latter remained in the hands of the Smiths until the company merged in 1952 with an equally illustrious enterprise, J and J Grant of Glen Grant fame. Together, they formed The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Limited, only to merge in 1970 with Hill, Thomson to form The Glenlivet Distillers Limited, the entire enterprise becoming part of the Seagram empire in 1977. When Pernod-Ricard picked over the Seagram Scotch whisky assets, which they acquired in 2001, they quickly gave Glenlivet flag ship status within their extensive distillery inventory. This was underlined in 2009 with a major expansion, which saw capacity increased by 75%.