|The heritage of Ballantine's Scotch Whisky can be traced back to the year 1827, when farmer's son George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh. From there he began to supply a select range of whiskies to a distinguished clientele.|
In 1865 George delegated the running of the Edinburgh store to his eldest son, Archibald, while he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow. Here he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade, catering for discerning clients including the British Royal Family. He also began to create and perfect his own blends.
These inspired additional demand and to build on this success he bought his second son, George junior, into the business. Trading now as George Ballantine and Son Ltd, he added a bonded warehouse to his growing empire and became and exporter of Scotch whisky.
He retired in 1881 with George junior taking command, and when he died 10 years later at the age of 82, many tributes were given of his achievements. The business continued to thrive under George junior.
The Ballantine's family finally capitalised on their success in 1919, accepting a buy-out offer from the respected firm of Barclay and McKinlay. Retaining the reputation and goodwill of the former company name, the new owners began the development of Ballantine's as a brand name for the excellent blends they had inherited.
But increasingly substantial resources were needed to compete fully in the growing world market. These were provided in 1937 by Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts, a major Canadian distilling concern with an impressive international business when they aquired the share capital of George Ballantine and Son. One of the new owner's first actions was to purchase a distillery at Miltonduff, near Elgin in the heart of Speyside, and licence it to Ballantine's.
It was in 1937 that the company received its Grant of Heraldic Arms, recognised George Ballantine & Son as an "incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland". The heraldic arms that decorate the Grant appear on every bottle of Ballantine's Scotch whisky to this date.
Developments since then have seen Ballantine's established as a major global brand and the best selling Scotch whisky in Europe.
The range of four distinct products are Ballantine's Finest (from 1920's when Finest was sold as 10YO), Gold Seal 12 Year Old (introduced in 1988/90), 17 Year Old and 30 Year Old (introduced early/mid 1930's). Extensive maturation warehousing was developed at Dumbuck near Dumbarton, and Willowyard near Beith in Ayrshire. And, in 1977, a few miles from Dumbarton, home of the company's headquarters, Europe's most advanced blending and bottling plant was opened at Kilmalid. Finally, in 1988, the Company became part of the global conglomerate now called Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine.
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