Strathisla Distillery is known today as the home of Chivas Regal and also as one of the most beautiful distilleries in Scotland.
Before it was Strathisla however, it was Milton Distillery, and it was founded in 1786, making it one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, with some saying that it is the oldest working distillery in the country.the name was eventually shortened to become Milton.
It was founded by George Taylor and Alexander Milne but changed hands a number of times over the next few decades. The first time it became known as Strathisla distillery was in 1870, when it was owned by William Longmore, who had bought it from MacDonald Ingram & Co in 1825.
Unfortunately the distillery was not to have a happy life in the 1870s when it was almost destroyed by two separate fires, one in 1876 and then an explosion in the malt mill in 1879.
But it picked itself up and continued on, and even had its own bottling plant added when it was rebuilt.
Longmore continued to own the distillery until his death in 1880, when it passed to his son-in-law John Geddes-Brown. It was under Geddes-Brown’s steerage that the name of the distillery was changed back to the original of Milton.
This may have been a bad move however, as the distillery entered a five decade period of silence shortly after.
During this time the majority of shares in the William Longmore& Co. Company were bought by one Jay Pomeroy. Pomeroy wasn’t the most honest of business men and his dodgy dealings eventually meant the company shut don completely.
This gave Chivas the perfect opportunity to swoop in and claim Strathisla for their own.
They had previously been in talks with Pomeroy about acquiring the distillery, before his company went bankrupt, but his demands were too high and so they backed out.
This time when they went to buy it, it was offered at the reasonable price of £71,000. They snapped it up and it has been the spiritual home of Chivas Regal ever since.
They changed the name back to Strathisla in 1951and it has become one of the biggest and most important producers of malt for their blends. Today it is renowned at the home of Chivas and has certainly come a long way from long days of silence it went through not all that long ago.
Also published on Medium.