|The story of BenRiach - the Hill of the Red Deer, is typical of the great Speyside distilleries. Built in 1898, the distillery was sited amongst the rolling barley fields that rise to the foothills of the Grampian mountains. The barley used in crafting the whisky was grown around the distillery and the water was...and still is...drawn through the rock that lies deep below the distillery. The barley harvested from the fields surrounding the distillery would be spread across the floors of the malting loft to germinate. Peat, cut from the hills above the distillery, fired the kiln and produced the heat required to control the germination process and the distinctive, peat scented smoke would be seen curling upwards from the malting chimneys throughout the year.|
The distillery manager would oversee the slow and deliberate crafting process of BenRiach whisky - managing the transformation from malted barley to wash, to distilled spirit and into high quality oak casks, some sourced from the great sherry bodegas of Spain, in which the whisky would then peacefully rest and mature in the traditional long, low, earth floored warehouses adjacent to the stillhouse. This was the beginning of the BenRiach story.
1898 -The BenRiach Distillery is established by the Grant Family on the same site as the Longmorn Distillery. Indeed, locally BenRiach was sometimes referred to as 'Longmorn 2'.
However, the timing proves to be unfortunate, preceding the 'Pattison Crash' by just a few months. 'Pattison, Elder and Co', fronted by Robert and Walter Pattison, were the biggest purchaser of whisky at that time. Because of their buying power, distilleries were willing to extend significant credit to Pattison Elder, unaware of the firm's precarious financial position. When they eventually went bust, many distilleries were crippled, and the whisky business moved into a period of recession.
1900 - Widespread distillery closures follow the Pattison Crash, and BenRiach is mothballed after just two years of production. The distillery remains closed until 1965, however BenRiach's floor maltings remain in constant production during this period, providing malted barley for the fully operational Longmorn Distillery.
1965 - BenRiach is re-opened by Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, having been almost totally rebuilt, and production re-convenes. However, a large number of the distilleries mothballed in 1900 remain closed to this day, and in some cases have been demolished.
1978 - Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, and the various distilleries under their ownership, including BenRiach and Longmorn, are purchased by Canadian whisky firm Seagrams.
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