Go to content

Main menu:

Pernod Ricard

Whisky Concerns


PERNOD RICARD

Pernod Ricard is one of the world’s leading spirits businesses and operates more than 100 production sites. It is active in 80 countries, and employs some 18,000 people. It boasts a large portfolio of premium international and local brands, with 37 premium international brands being grouped in what the company calls ‘The House of Brands.’

This brings the group’s strategic brands together in three segments: namely the ‘Top 14’, comprising what are termed ‘global icons which aspire to achieve global leadership,’ (Absolut and Chivas Regal), seven Premium spirits brands and five Prestige brands; the Wine segment, with five priority Premium wine brands; and 18 key local brands.

Chief among Pernod Ricard’s labels are Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin, Martell Cognac, Havana Club rum, Malibu, Perrier-Jouët and Mumm Champagne, and Jameson Irish whiskey. In terms of Scotch whisky, the market leaders of Chivas Brothers are Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Royal Salute blended Scotches, and The Glenlivet and Aberlour single malts.



Swiss-born Henri-Louis Pernod established a distillery at Pontarlier in eastern France during 1805, forming Absinthe Pernod Fils. In 1926, La Maison Pernod Fils merged with Distillerie Hémard, founded in Montreuil in 1871 by Ariste Hémard, and Pernod Père et Fils, founded in Avignon in 1872 by Jules-François Pernod. The new organisation was named Établissements Pernod, which became Pernod SA in 1959.

Meanwhile, Paul Ricard, the son of a wine merchant who was born near Marseilles in 1909, set about developing his own pastis, perfecting the recipe in 1932, and Ricard went on to become the world’s leading anise-based spirit.

In 1974 the firms of Pernod and Ricard merged, and from 1978 Patrick Ricard, son of Paul, became chairman and CEO of the Pernod Ricard group. Under his leadership an ambitious programme of brand acquisition was initiated, including Wild Turkey Bourbon (1981), Jameson Irish whiskey (1988), and leading Australian wine brand Jacob’s Creek (1989).

Between 2000 and 2010 close to €20 billion was spent acquiring Seagram Distillers (Chivas and Martell) in 2001, Allied Domecq (Ballantine’s, Malibu, Mumm, Perrier-Jouët) in 2005 and finally Vin & Sprit (Absolut) in 2008.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS

100 Pipers
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Aberlour
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Allt-a-Bhainne
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Ballantine's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Black Watch
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Bonnie Lassie
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Braemar
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Braeval
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Caperdonich
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Chivas Brothers
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Chivas Regal
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Clan Campbell
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Clan Robertson
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Craigduff
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Dalmunach
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Doctor's Special
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Dumbarton
LOWLAND SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Keith
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenallachie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenburgie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glencraig
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenisla
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glentauchers
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenugie
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Imperial Distillery
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Inverleven
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Kinclaith
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
King's Ransom
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Lochside
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Lomond
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Long John
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Longmorn
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Miltonduff
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Mosstowie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Passport
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Citation
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Glen Dee
BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Salute
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Strathythan
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Scapa
ISLANDS SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Something Special
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Stewart's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Strathclyde
LOWLAND SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY
Strathisla
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Glenlivet
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Junior
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Tormore
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
White Heather
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Allied Breweries
Allied Distillers
Allied Domecq
Allied Lyons
Campbell Distillers
Chivas Brothers Holdings

SEAGER EVANS

What started out as a 19th century gin distiller and rectification business in London became a thriving Scotch whisky distilling and blending empire. Seager Evans & Co had its headquarters in Deptford, but under US ownership expanded its business north into Scotland. It acquired the Long John blended Scotch whisky and, following its popularity in global markets, eventually renamed its subsidiaries and own business after the brand.

During its lifetime Seager Evans & Co owned the Strathclyde grain distillery in Glasgow, Glenugie in Peterhead and Laphroaig on Islay, and built Tormore in Moray. It also owned a sizeable warehousing, blending and bottling facility in Glasgow, as well as the Plymouth Gin distillery on England’s south coast.

It was renamed Long John International Ltd in 1988 and now operates as a dormant subsidiary of Chivas Brothers Ltd.


Despite being one of the more successful Scotch whisky distillers and blenders, Seager Evans & Co was established as a gin distiller and rectifier in London in 1805. Its main operation was based at Millbank distillery in Westminster for the purpose of distilling, blending and rectifying gin (the business was moved in 1921 to Holland & Co’s Deptford site on the expiration of Millbank’s lease).

In 1903, with many Scottish distilleries being sold off for a bargain price following a crash in the market, Seager Evans picked up the Lowland Glentarras distillery. But it was too soon for the group to be entering the Scotch distilling industry and with the market in disarray, particularly for the Lowland distilleries, it was sold on in 1910 (and eventually closed five years later).

It wasn’t until 1927 that Seager Evans made another pass at distilling in Scotland, this time with the construction of its own distillery in Glasgow. Strathclyde was opened on the site of a disused cotton mill in Waddell Street as an alternative source of grain spirit to DCL (which was dominating the market), rather than in response to demand for more capacity. Strathclyde operated under the Scottish Grain Distilling Company subsidiary, though the name was changed to Strathclyde and Long John Distilleries Ltd in 1957 following the opening of the Kinclaith malt plant inside Strathclyde and the acquisition of the Long John blend through Seager’s buyout of W.H. Chaplin & Co in 1936.

Glenugie malt distillery, which had been silent for 15 years, was added to the portfolio in 1937, but it was after WWII that Seager began a real spending spree. It bought Westthorn Farm in Glasgow, a 100-acre site on which it built a huge storage, cooperage and blending facility. Today the London Road site is the headquarters of John Dewar & Sons.

Seager Evans was acquired by New York’s Schenley Industries in 1956, which allowed it to purchase Coates & Co (Plymouth) Ltd, the producer of Plymouth Gin, in 1958. In the same year it snapped up Tormore in Moray and went on to acquire Gordon Graham of Aberdeen and its Black Bottle blend.

The investment didn’t stop. In 1962 Seager Evans began its 10-year purchase of Laphroaig distillery from Bessie Williamson, and went on to purchase Stanley Holt & Son, which held one of the largest stocks of maturing whisky in England.

In 1972 Schenley Industries was acquired by Rapid American Inc and three years later Seager Evans was sold off to British brewer Whitbread. Its new owner invested heavily in a modernising Seager’s distilleries, and even reunited the Long John brand with the purchase of its home, Ben Nevis distillery, in 1981.

In 1988 Seager Evans & Co. Ltd was renamed Long John International Ltd. The following year, Whitbread’s wine and spirits divisions were sold to Allied Lyons. Long John International is now a dormant subsidiary of Chivas Brothers.  


Schenley industries was one of the largest liquor groups operating out of the US during the 20th century, with significant interests in Bourbon, American and Canadian whisky, gin and vodka.

In Scotch terms, Schenley was responsible for the construction of Kinclaith and Tormore malt distilleries, and – through its English subsidiary Seager Evans & Co – also once owned Laphroaig distillery and Long John blended Scotch. As well as owning several distilleries and blending companies through Seager Evans, it also distributed many of the Scotch and gin brands belonging to the DCL in the US, including Dewar’s and Gordons.

Schenley’s New York headquarters once occupied five floors of the Empire State building, which with over 800 employees made it the largest employer in residence.


Schenley Industries was founded in the 1920s, when Lewis Rosential purchased a group of distilleries, including one in Schenley, Pennsylvania that had a license to produce whisky for medicinal purposes during Prohibition – one of only six in the country to do so. Acting on the advice of Sir Winston Churchill, whom he met during a visit to the French Riviera in 1922, Rosential purchased large whisky inventories in preparation for the end of Prohibition.

When Repeal came in 1933, Rosential incorporated Schenley Distillers Company, which grew rapidly to become one of the largest liquor businesses in the US. It obtained the rights to distribute DCL’s Dewar’s in the US, with the blended Scotch allegedly contributing half of Schenley’s profits.

The business was renamed Schenley Industries in 1949 and became a public company shortly afterward.

With Scotch whisky so vibrant in the US during the 50s – it took on the bulk of exports after the war – American ownership of Scotch interests abounded. Publicker Industries established Inver House Distillers; Hiram Walker made acquisitions of Scapa, Glencadam and Pulteney distilleries; while Seagram, which bought Chivas Brothers following the war, picked up Strathisla and Glen Keith.

In 1956 Schenley purchased London’s Seager Evans & Co., at that time owner of the Strathclyde grain distillery in Glasgow, Glenugie malt distillery in Peterhead, and the Long John blended Scotch whisky brand.

Under Schenley, Seager Evans opened the Kinclaith malt distillery within Strathclyde, Laphroaig on Islay and Plymouth Gin distillery. It built Tormore in Moray, and acquired blender Gordon & Graham of Aberdeen (owner of Black Bottle) and Stanley Holt & Son, which had one of the largest stocks of maturing whisky in England.

Rosential sold his controlling interest in Schenley to the Glen Alden Corporation in 1968, and resigned from the company. Glen Alden was purchased by Rapid American in 1972 but, owing to US monopolies legislation, was required to divest some of its liquor interests.

In 1975 Seager Evans & Co – which controlled all of Schenley’s Scotch assets – was sold to British brewer Whitbread and later renamed Long John International.

Meanwhile, Rapid American’s CEO, Meshulam ‘Rik’ Riklis was caught up over allegations of share price fixing during Guinness’ infamous takeover of Distillers Company Ltd in 1986. The following year Guinness also acquired Schenley industries from Riklis.

CAMPBELL DISTILLERS

A Glasgow-based whisky blending and bottling company that purchased the Aberlour distillery after the Second World War. Following its acquisition by Pernod Ricard it added the Glenallachie distillery to its stable and found a major market for its Clan Campbell brand of blended whisky in France and Spain.


CAMPBELL DISTILLERS HISTORY

Campbell Distillers has one of the most complicated legacies of identity crisis of any Scottish whisky company, boasting several name changes in just 50 years.

In 1933 wine shipper Samuel Rosenbloom formed a whisky merchant, Forbes McGregor & Co. The company was based in Campbell House, Glasgow and when the Rosenbloom family changed their name to Ross, Samuel decided to use the name Campbell instead.

Around 1934 he acquired Glasgow blender Muir Mackenzie & Co. Ltd. and in 1937 changed the company name to S. Campbell & Son Ltd. In 1945 S. Campbell & Son purchased its first distillery, Aberlour, as well as the Glasgow Bonding Co., to give it access to a bottling operation.

In 1950 Samuel’s son Arnold Campbell and brother, Jack Ross, incorporated the Aberlour-Glenlivet Distillery Co. with most of the shares being held by the Commercial Bank of Scotland.

Through a subsidiary company, Campbells (Distillery) Ltd., S. Campbell blended and bottled Clan Campbell blended Scotch whisky. This whisky is still very popular on the continent of Europe. Another popular blend was White Heather, named after Campbells (Distillery) Ltd.’s original company name.

In 1974 S. Campbell & Son was purchased by the French giant Pernod Ricard, which in turn set up a holding company, House of Campbell. When Pernod Ricard merged House of Campbell with wine shipper J. R. Parkington in 1988, the new company was finally named Campbell Distillers.

In 1989 Pernod Ricard added the Glenallachie distillery to the company’s holdings after purchasing it from Invergordon Distillers.

Campbell Distillers’ portfolio merged with Chivas Brothers’ when it was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2001.

ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Allied Breweries
Allied Distillers
Allied Domecq
Allied Lyons
Chivas Brothers Holdings


HILL, THOMSON & CO

Originally a licenced grocer based in Edinburgh’s New Town district, this company began blending and bottling its own label whiskies including the bestselling Queen Anne and Something Special blends. It became a part of Pernod Ricard when Seagram sold off its wine and spirits operation in 2001.


In 1793 William Hill opened a licenced grocer’s shop in Rose Street Lane in Edinburgh’s New Town. By 1799 the business had become so successful that he was able to move to new, grander premises on Frederick Street, where the company remained for over 200 years.

In 1815 his eldest son, William Jnr., joined the company and on the death of his father in 1818, was joined by his brother Robert. Together they changed the name of the company to William and Robert Hill.

After both brothers had died the company changed hands to a third brother, George, who renamed the company after himself: George Hill and Co. The following year, in 1838, the company was awarded a Royal Warrant from the newly crowned Queen Victoria.

As the company expanded a new partner, William Thompson, was appointed in 1857 and the merchant changed its name once again to Hill, Thompson & Co. Ltd. It was around this time that the company began to focus on blending and bottling its own whiskies.

In 1877 Hill, Thompson & Co. offered the role of export salesman to William Shaw. In 1902 he established the Queen Anne blend, which soon became the company’s flagship whisky. In recognition of William Shaw’s efforts, he was appointed chairman of the company.

In 1919, on their return from the war, William Shaw’s sons, William and James, became partners in the company. They continued to drive growth and in 1970 the next generation of the family (a few years after opening a new blending and bottling plant in Midlothian), arranged a merger with The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd., and Longmorn Distillers Ltd. to form The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd.

This gave Hill, Thompson & Co. first dibs on the malt whisky stocks of the BenRiach, Caperdonich, Glen Grant, Longmorn and The Glenlivet distilleries to use in its blends.

In 1977, The Glenlivet Distillers was bought by Canada’s Seagram which already owned Chivas Brothers and a number of malt whisky distilleries. Through a series of acquisitions and disposals, Hill, Thompson & Co. became owned by French multinational Pernod Ricard.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS

Queen Anne
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Something Special
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
St Leger
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Chivas Brothers Holdings (Current owner)
Harvey MacNair & Co
Lawson & Smith
Moray Bonding Company
R Thorne and Sons
Seagram Distillers
Taylor & Ferguson

SEAGRAM

A wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian drinks giant Seagram, Seagram Distillers PLC was set up to control the group’s Scottish businesses – which eventually included Chivas Brothers and Glenlivet Distillers. Owned by the Bronfman family (who made their money selling alcohol to bootleggers during Prohibition), the company raised the profile of Chivas Regal Scotch whisky around the world. After a disastrous foray into the music and entertainment business, the firm was dismantled in 2001, its wine and spirits assets sold to Diageo and Pernod Ricard.


The Seagram company name was first founded in 1857 in Waterloo, Ontario, as Joseph E. Seagram Co Ltd. More than half a century later in 1928, the firm was acquired by Montreal-based Distillers Corporation Ltd, owned by the Bronfman brothers, who grew the business into an international name. The Distillers Corporation was a joint venture between the Bronfman family and UK-based Distillers Company Ltd (DCL), and controlled the distribution of DCL’s Scotch whisky brands in Canada. It also gave DCL an ‘arm’s length’ distance from the bootleggers who would legally purchase whisky stocks in Canada before smuggling them into the US during Prohibition.

After the end of Prohibition in 1933, the Bronfman family bought the DCL shareholding in Distillers Corporation, and began to look at how they could expand their distilling empire.

In 1935, Sam Bronfman, by now the ‘senior’ brother in the family operation, used business links with Scotch whisky broker Jimmy Barclay to purchase Robert Brown Ltd of Paisley – including its substantial stock of mature whiskies. The following year, Seagram Distillers Co. was incorporated as a company in Scotland. In 1949 Barclay acted as broker again for the £85,070 purchase of Aberdeen-based Chivas Brothers from R.D. Lundie. The following year, Barclay purchased Milton distillery (later renamed Strathisla) at public auction on behalf of Chivas Brothers, for £71,000.

Barclay, who by now was a director of Chivas Brothers, also sold two of his companies to Seagram – William Walker & Co and the Highland Bonding Co, which were again purchased for the whisky stocks they held.

In order to meet rising demands for whisky, Seagram built a new distillery next door to Strathisla – Glen Keith, the first Scotch distillery to use gas rather than coal or peat as a fuel source. That same year saw Seagram begin construction of a new headquarters, bottling and warehouse complex near Paisley, which was complemented by another warehouse and bottling site in Dalmuir, Clydebank, in 1970.

Sam Bronfman died in 1971 and the day-to-day operation of the company passed to his son, Edgar. That same year saw Seagram begin the planning phase for a new distillery in Glenlivet. Braes of Glenlivet (now known as Braeval) opened in 1973 and is one of the highest distilleries in Scotland. Braes of Glenlivet was soon joined in 1975 by the Glenrinnes-based Allt-a-Bhainne distillery.

Expansion continued in 1977 when the company purchased Glenlivet Distillers Ltd – a group formed by the 1970 merger of The Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Longmorn, Caperdonich and BenRiach distilleries, with blender Hill, Thompson & Co. of Edinburgh.

In June 1994, Edgar Bronfman’s son, Edgar Jr., took over as CEO. He had a grand vision of Seagram being a diversified business with assets in the film and television industry. The year after his appointment, Edgar Jr. began the process of purchasing a controlling stake in MCA, which owned Universal Pictures and its theme parks. He went on to purchase Polygram and Deutsche Grammophon too.

By 2000 it became clear that Edgar Jr’s bid to enter the entertainment industry had not paid off, and Seagram was sold to French entertainment company Vivendi. This resulted in company separation, with Seagram’s wine and spirits assets sold on to Diageo and Pernod Ricard. Edgar Jr’s uncle described the fall of Seagram as a ‘...disaster and a family tragedy’.

ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Harvey MacNair & Co
Hill, Thomson & Co
Lawson & Smith
R Thorne and Sons
Taylor & Ferguson

CHIVAS BROTHERS

Chivas Brothers has its headquarters in Paisley, near Glasgow, and operates 14 Scottish malt distilleries, all located in the Speyside area – apart from Scapa on Orkney – along with Strathclyde grain distillery in Glasgow. It also owns gin distilleries in London and Plymouth, and blending, bottling and warehousing facilities at several sites across Scotland. In total the company employs 1,600 people at 34 locations.

Chivas is best known for its Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s blended Scotches, with the latter being the world’s second-best-selling Scotch whisky after Johnnie Walker, while Chivas Regal occupies the third spot.  In terms of single malts, the company’s biggest brands are The Glenlivet, the global number two malt behind Glenfiddich, and Aberlour.


Chivas Brothers traces its origins back to Aberdeen in 1801, when John Forrest established a grocery and wine merchants, it being passed onto William Edward who was joined by James Chivas in 1838. Chivas Regal was first introduced as a 25-year-old luxury blend in 1909, and was soon a firm favourite in the USA.

Seeing its success, the Canadian drinks giant Seagram Co bought Chivas Brothers in 1949, adding Strathisla distillery at Keith to the organisation the following year. In 1957 a ‘sister’ distillery named Glen Keith was constructed close to Strathisla, while the Keith Bond was developed as a maturation and blending facility, gradually being expanded as time passed. Growth of whisky sales during the 1970s led Chivas to construct All-a-Bhainne and Braes of Glenlivet (now Braeval) distilleries to provide additional malt capacity.

In 1975 Seagram purchased Campbell Distilleries, which owned Aberlour, Glenallachie and Edradour distilleries, while the company also acquired The Glenlivet Distillers during 1978, bringing The Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Longmorn and Benriach distilleries into Chivas’ fold.

In 2001 Pernod Ricard and Diageo bought Seagram Spirts & Wine, with Pernod taking control of the Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky operations. Four years later, the Scotch whisky distilleries and brands of Allied Domecq were added to the Chivas portfolio, with Ballantine’s as the prize asset.

Today, Chivas Brothers is the second-largest Scotch whisky company after Diageo, and it officially opened its latest state-of-the-art malt distillery, Dalmunach, at Carron near the River Spey in June 2015.

DISTILLERIES & BRANDS

100 Pipers
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Aberlour
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Allt-a-Bhainne
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Ambassador
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Ballantine's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Black Watch
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Bonnie Lassie
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Braemar
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Braeval
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Caperdonich
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Chivas Brothers
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Chivas Regal
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Clan Campbell
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Clan Robertson
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Craigduff
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Dalmunach
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Doctor's Special
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Dumbarton
LOWLAND SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY
Glen Keith
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenallachie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenburgie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glencraig
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenisla
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glentauchers
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenugie
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Imperial Distillery
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Inverleven
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Kinclaith
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
King's Ransom
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Lochside
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Lomond
LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Long John
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Longmorn
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Miltonduff
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Mosstowie
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Passport
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Prince Charlie
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Queen Anne
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Citation
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Glen Dee
BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Salute
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Royal Strathythan
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Scapa
ISLANDS SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Something Special
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
St Leger
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Stewart's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Strathclyde
LOWLAND SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY
Strathisla
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Glenlivet
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Junior
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Thorne's
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Tormore
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
White Heather
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
ASSOCIATED COMPANIES

Pernod Ricard (Current owner)
Allied Breweries
Allied Distillers
Allied Domecq
Allied Lyons
Campbell Distillers
Harvey MacNair & Co
Hill, Thomson & Co
Lawson & Smith
R Thorne and Sons
Seagram Distillers
Taylor & Ferguson

The Ballantines Malts:

Malt trio: Glenburgie, Glentauchers and Miltonduff are all core components in the Ballantine’s blend
Fifteen-year-old single malts from Glenburgie, Glentauchers and Miltonduff distilleries have been released underneath the Ballantine’s brand.

The world’s second best-selling Scotch whisky, which sells over 80 million bottles a year, has made the unprecedented move to give consumers a ‘unique opportunity’ to experience the flavour of the three main malt whiskies that comprise the Ballantine’s blend.

Peter Moore, Ballantine’s global brand director, said: ‘The single malts category is dynamic and continues to grow rapidly as more consumers become lovers of this iconic Scottish spirit.

‘As a globally known brand, we are sure that consumers will have confidence in the quality and credibility of these new single malts as they are widely recognised as the signature malts that form the heart of Ballantine’s.’

Glenburgie distillery was built near Forres in 1829, and produces a fragrant, sweet and grassy style of malt whisky.

Glentauchers was designed by the legendary Charles Doig, and built by James Buchanan & Co. in 1898. Its spirit is floral and sweet, and light in style.

Lastly, Miltonduff is the oldest of the three distilleries, dating back to the at least the late 18th century. Another fresh, floral malt whisky, Miltonduff is another workhorse distillery, producing around six million lpa (litres of pure alcohol) every year.

Glenburgie distillery: One of the workhorse producers of single malt for Ballantine’s



Whisky from the three Speyside distilleries have rarely been bottled by their owner, Chivas Brothers, which also owns The Glenlivet distillery.

Instead, spirit produced by Glenburgie, Glentauchers and Miltonduff has been reserved almost exclusively for the Ballantine’s blend.

The three 15-year-old bottlings has already been launched in global travel retail for US$80 per litre, and will be released in domestic markets including the UK, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan for around US$56 for 70cl.



Pernod sells the Glenallachie Distillery
13 July, 2017


Pernod Ricard has announced the signing of an agreement with the Glenallachie Consortium, comprising Billy Walker, Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage, for the sale of the Scottish distillery Glenallachie.

The transaction also includes the Glenallachie single malt brand, MacNair’s and White Heather blended scotch brands, and relevant inventories to support future development of those brands.

Pernod says the disposal is in line with its strategy to focus on its priority spirits and wine brands and to adjust its industrial footprint to its needs.

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to take place before the end of 2017.

The Glenallachie Consortium
Billy Walker is a well known character in the scotch whisky industry, having now been involved in the industry for more than 40 years. With a degree in chemistry Walker has been involved in most aspects of the production of scotch whisky, having spent time at Ballantines, Inver House Distillers and Burn Stewart. More recently he was instrumental in establishing and building the BenRiach Distillery Company prior to its sale in 2016.

Graham Stevenson is a chartered accountant who has spent almost 30 years in the scotch whisky industry. He initially joined the North British Distillery Company in Edinburgh before moving to Inver House Distillers in 1994. He has remained there for the past 23 years, most of that time as managing director.

Trisha Savage has over 30 years’ experience in scotch. Starting at Burn Stewart she has worked with Billy throughout her career and was also instrumental in establishing and building the BenRiach Distillery Company.

The consortium says its mission is to be a wholly Scottish-owned, Scottish-based, and truly independent scotch whisky company producing excellent whiskies and offering them to the market at premium but affordable prices.


JIMMY BARCLAY, BALLANTINE’S AND CHIVAS REGAL

A legendary whisky entrepreneur, Jimmy Barclay built the reputations of not one but two great blended Scotch brands, Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal, in a career spanning the dark days of Prohibition and the glory years of the 1950s.

Jimmy Barclay
Wheeler dealer: Barclay was one of the most significant figures in 20th-century Scotch
Jimmy Barclay (1885-1963) was a legendary figure in the Scotch whisky industry, described by the Canadian whisky executive Maxwell Henderson as ‘one of the greatest whisky entrepreneurs ever to graduate into the respectable era from the bootlegging days’.

The Canadian heard ‘amazing tales’ about Barclay’s adventures in New York during Prohibition, including ‘the night he climbed down the Hotel Astor’s fire escape to avoid being subpoenaed by internal revenue officers’. He was subsequently involved in some of the most important and complex whisky business deals of the 1940s and 1950s.

Barclay was born in Gargunnock, Stirlingshire, in 1885, but was brought up in Strathspey. He began work as an office boy at the Benrinnes distillery near Aberlour.

In 1909, Barclay went to Glasgow to work for Peter Mackie & Co, eventually taking charge of the firm’s home trade, distilleries and warehouses.

There was a recession in the whisky market after the First World War, and the young manager, with his extensive knowledge of the market, was well-placed to spot business opportunities.   

In 1919, Barclay left Mackie’s and joined RA McKinlay (owner of Alexander McGavin & Co) to purchase George Ballantine & Son. In 1921 they acquired The Stirling Bonding Co and, in 1922, James & George Stodart. T&A McClelland and Highland Bonding Company followed.

Through these acquisitions, the duo not only acquired large maturing stocks at keen prices, but owned and bottled their own brands, including Ballantine’s and Old Smuggler.

The dapper McKinlay took charge of the office and the production of blended whiskies. The gregarious Barclay, meanwhile, concentrated on sales and deal-making.

During the 1920s, he travelled extensively to establish the Ballantine’s and the Gaelic Old Smuggler brand names in the US. The fact that the Americans had recently introduced Prohibition was a mere inconvenience.

Jimmy Barclay Chivas Regal

In the midst: Barclay (centre) was instrumental in the introduction of Chivas Regal in the US

Herb Hatch of Hiram Walker believed that ‘Ballantine’s made its American debut in the whorehouses of Havana, Nassau and New York’ during the Prohibition years of the 1920s and early 1930s. Certainly, Barclay made influential contacts in the US, Bahamas and Canada during that time, including Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns of the 21 Club, the famous Manhattan speakeasy, who also set up a liquor distribution company.

That company, 21 Brands, was appointed as US distributor for Ballantine’s, which became one of the most popular Scotches in the country. Its success impressed two more of Barclay’s friends from Prohibition days – Hatch and Bill Hume of the distillers Hiram Walker – Gooderham & Worts.

They bought a controlling interest in Stodarts and the Stirling Bonding Co in 1930, and in Robert Ballantine & Son in 1935, in a deal which must have made small fortunes for their owners.

Barclay stayed on as a director of Hiram Walker’s Scotch whisky subsidiary, Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd, for a couple of years. He arranged the purchase of the Miltonduff and Glenburgie distilleries for the company, to guarantee the supplies of single malt whisky required for the Ballantine’s blends. And he worked closely with James Horn and George Robertson to create a new premium blend, Ballantine’s 17 Year Old.

One of Barclay’s final acts in connection with Hiram Walker came in December 1938, when he appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court to give evidence in a case in which Hiram Walker, George Ballantine & Son and other companies were prosecuted under the Merchandise Act 1887: they had allegedly used the false trade description ‘Scotch whisky’ in connection with blends of Scotch malt whisky and grain whisky from Northern Ireland.

Kenny Grant Jimmy Barclay Willie Mitchell Strathisla distillery

Brand home: Barclay (centre, with Kenny Grant and Willie Mitchell) helped acquire Strathisla for Chivas

Barclay told the court that he believed a whisky could be called ‘Scotch’ if it was a blend of Scotch malt whisky ‘and any other British-produced patent still grain whisky’, apparently supporting other defence witnesses who believed that Scotch had become a term which indicated a ‘style’ rather than a place of origin.

He went on to say that, since the First World War, ‘Irish grain was bought and sold by reputable firms for the purpose of being blended with Scotch malt and being marketed as Scotch or blended Scotch whisky’ – even if there was as little as 5% Scotch malt in the blend (although he added that such a small amount was practically unheard-of).

This latest ‘What is Scotch Whisky’ case attracted headlines in British newspapers in 1938 and 1939. All the plaintiffs other than Barclay’s old company, McGavin’s (which had simply bottled the products for their clients), were found guilty and given nominal fines. The little-remembered test case established quite firmly that Scotch mixed with spirit made in any other place ‘must not be labelled Scotch whisky’.

Barclay then became entangled in the celebrated Excess Profits Tax avoidance scandal of the 1940s. EPT was levied by the British Government to prevent rampant profiteering when the prices of whisky stocks went through the roof at the beginning of the Second World War.

Established brokers and a number of ‘straw men’ formed a syndicate to buy and sell whisky companies and their valuable stocks at small margins, over and again, before the final transfer to the new owner.

This labyrinthine scheme ensured that the EPT liability for the vendor was kept low, while each link in the selling-on chain was no doubt rewarded with a tidy fee.

According to the media, the scheme was fronted by Jay Pomeroy, a Russian émigré, entrepreneur and opera impresario, but involved a who’s who of the Scotch whisky brokerage trade, including Barclay.

Chivas Regal bottling

Target America: Bottles of Chivas Regal being packed before their transatlantic journey

The latter was named in connection with the purchases and re-sales of Bladnoch distillery, William Longmore & Co and other businesses. However, after the introduction of retrospective legislation to close the tax loopholes, and after the Inland Revenue finally began unravelling the deals to claim appropriate amounts of EPT, the authorities ruled that he had been involved only as a consultant.   

Even before he severed his ties with Hiram Walker in the late 1930s, Barclay had begun working closely with one of its Canadian rivals – the colourful Sam Bronfman of the Distillers Corporation – Seagram’s Ltd.

Bronfman had ‘issues’ with Distillers Company Ltd, the dominant player in the Scotch whisky industry, which in 1933 had rejected a proposal to work in partnership with his company in the US.

He became obsessed with a plan to create a blended Scotch that would compete with Johnnie Walker and other great DCL brands. Barclay, who had known Bronfman since Prohibition days, was happy to assist.

In 1935, Barclay had purchased the Glasgow firm Robert Brown Ltd for Seagram’s and began to amass the large inventory of aged grain and malt whiskies that would be required for the launch of a new, premium blended Scotch.

He husbanded the stocks through the Second World War and, working with a number of well-known brokers, found ways to add to them. In 1949, when reserves of pre-war Scotch whiskies were at an all-time low, and the 12 years age statement had been removed even from Johnnie Walker Black Label, Bronfman made his move.

Seagram’s paid considerable sums to buy The Highland Bonding Co and William Walker & Co from Barclay, along with their large stocks of maturing whisky. Barclay then acted for the company to purchase the Aberdeen grocer Chivas Brothers (with its prestigious Royal Warrant), acquiring more stock, but also the rights to the Chivas Regal brand name.

The Glasgow Bond

Bottling facilities: The Glasgow Bond was used by Seagram’s to package Chivas Regal

The Canadian company also required a distillery to guarantee supplies of single malt for the new blend, and in 1950 Barclay acquired on its behalf the Milton (renamed Strathisla) distillery in Keith.

The previous owner, William Longmore & Co, had been forced into liquidation in the wake of the EPT scandal and of demands made to shareholders to settle claims for more than £500,000 in unpaid tax.  

Finally, Bronfman needed facilities for bottling his Scotch whisky, so Barclay put The Glasgow Bonding Co’s bottling facilities in Glasgow at Seagram’s disposal.

Cockney master blender Charlie Julian was employed to re-formulate Chivas Regal as a rich 12-year-old blend, and it was launched in New York in August 1951.

At a time when bottles of older Scotch were hard to find, Chivas Regal stood out from the crowd. By 1960, Seagram’s sold more than 100,000 cases in the US each year, and it remains (with Ballantine’s) one of the world’s most famous whisky brands.

The ever-restless Barclay left the Chivas board in the late 1950s, in search of yet more business opportunities. He bought four hotels, including the famous art deco Beresford in Glasgow, as well as three farms and a herd of  pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle.

He retained business interests in Nassau in the Bahamas, and he remained a major player in the whisky trade: when he died in 1963, it was said that his company, T&A McClelland, held larger stocks of Scotch whisky than any other private firm.
Back to content | Back to main menu