HIGHLAND DISTILLERIES Co, plc, Whisky distillers, Glasgow
Highland Distilleries Co, Ltd was formed in 1887 through the merger of the
Islay Distillry Co, Ltd, owners of the Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay. Argyll
& Bute and William Grant & Co, owners of the Glenrothes - Glenlivet Dis-
tillery, Rothes, Moray
Capital was raised through sale to the public of 13.340 ordinary 5 Pound shares
and 230 100 Pound debentures. From the outset, the company shared offices at
48 West Nile Street, Glasgow, with Robertson & Baxter, whisky merchants.
Relationships between the two firms were very close and they had many directors
In 1892, Highland Distilleries Co, Ltd acquired the Glenglassaugh Distillery at
Portsoy, Aberdeenshire.In order to fund the purchase the company issued
A further 13.500 Pound of debentures
In 1898, the chairman and founding director, W.A. Robertson, died. Following
a fire at Glenrothes - Glenlivet Distillery the firm was short of stock and in
1898 acquired the Tamdhu - Glenlivet Distillery in exchange of 5.500 shares.
In 1905 a further three of the founding directors died, William Grant, Robert
Dick and James Ford
Following the samaging Budget of 1909, the firm took emergency action using
Its 25.000 Pound reserve fund to reduce the book value of plant and property
to 87.000 Pound while seeking amalgamation with Dailuaine - Talisker Dis-
However, the amalgamation scheme was abandoned in 1910. By 1927 Highland
Distilleries Co, Ltd was supplying malt whisky and whisky for blending to over
One hundred and eighty customers. The depression of the 1930s saw temporary
Closures for most distilleries although the lifting of prohibition in the United States
in 1933 helped the industry.
In 1935 the company acted to protect its name by acquiring
In 1937, James Grant & Co, damaged by the recession, sold the Highland Park
Distillery, Orkney to Highland Distilleries Co, Ltd. Highland Park continued
to operateunder the subsidiary company James Grant & Co (Highland Park)
Ltd and Walter G. Grant, a director of James Grant & Co, joined the board
of Highland Distilleries Co, Ltd
As a precaution against wartime isolation of the Orkneys, the firm reduced
capital value of James Grant & Co (Highland Park) Ltd from 220.000 Pound
to 170.000 Pound. The purchase may have been driven by the fact that High-
land Park was an integral ingredient of the new Cutty Sark blend produced
by Highland Distilleries for the export market.
Until the 1939 - 1945 World War. Highland Distilleries Co Ltd, focussed
on distilling rather than blending or marketing but in 1947 it acquired A.C.
Robertson's shares in Robertson & Baxter Ltd.
In 1955 there were rumours of take over attempts and much uncertainty in
Highland's future independence
In the late 1950s, the firm sold part of its holdings in Robertson & Baxter Ltd
to that company's subsidiary Clyde Bonding Co Ltd, alcolics drinks manu-
facturers, leaving a 35 % stake to finance reconstruction at Glenglassaugh
In 1963 the firm took a 25 % stake in Edward Fison Ltd, malters, to develop
modern drum maltings in Yorkshire, England, but withdrew the investment
In 1964, a one - for -one scrip issue doubled issued capital to 2.5 million
In 1966 Highland Distilleries bought Remy's share in Macallan and this
was the beginning of a dramatic development that after a alliance was made
with Suntory, who owned a 25 % share in Macallan, finished with a
hostile takeover of Macallan
In 1970, Highland Distilleries Co Ltd broke with tradition and itself
became a blender through the purchase of Matthew Gloag & Sons and
their Famous Grouse brand
Marketing of Famous Grouse was stepped up in 1972 as was marketing
of the single malts produced by Highland Distillers
Several of the distilleries were incorporated as private limited companies
in their own right as subsidiaries of Highland Distilleries. Highland raised
a further 8,7 million Pound additional capital in 1979 by one for five right
issue to pay for a new stillhouse at the Glenrothes - Glenlivet Distillery
In 1983, Glenturret Distillery came to Highland Distilleries via their
association with Remy, the French company, who at that time via Coin-
treau had a share in that distillery
In 1982 the company became a public limited company as Highland Dis-
tilleries Co plc, changing its name again in 1998 to Highland Distilleries
In 1999 the company was acquired by the Edrington Group Ltd, the
successor company of Robertson & Baxter Ltd.
In 1999 it was announced that a new company Maxxium was founded
For the distribution of all products from Highland Distillers, Remy and
J B B now Beam International.
Highland Distilleries Ltd changed his name again in 2001 to Highland Dis-
tillers Group Ltd, remaining a production arm of the Edrington Group
with Highland Distillers products, such as Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark
blended whiskies brands, being sold as Edrington products.