BenRiach Distillery Story

let’s begin

Found in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, BenRiach Distillery has a colourful history producing whisky.

Difficult Beginnings

The brand goes back to 1898, when it was founded by John Duff.

Unfortunately for Duff, he choose to open BenRiach in the very year of the biggest economic crash the Whisky market has ever seen, also known as the Pattison Crash.

You therefore might not be surprised to learn that it did not stay open for long and stopped production after just two years, in 1900.

At this point you might be expecting a wonderful rags to riches story where BenRiach was saved by some benevolent investor, like Annie, only where the orphan is a disttilery.

Instead however, it was 65 years until BenRiach Distillery opened again, and the only reason for that was because it’s sister site, Longmorn, was still using its floor maltings.

The Golden Age

So in 1965 BenRiach Distillery was given a new breath of life and re-opened. This was during the period when Scotch Whisky was enjoying a hearty revival, a Golden Age of sorts.

It changed hands a few times in this period, with The Glenlivet and Seagrams owning it. The stills were also updated, with two more being added to increase capacity.

Things mulled along quite nicely, with nothing major happening. That was until 2001.

At this point, PernodRicard, who owned Seagrams, decided it was time to mothball BenRiach Distillery again.

A New Dawn

The distillery lay silent for three long years but was soon rescued by conveniently named The BenRiach Distillery Company Limited.

This was a joint effort between South African businessmen Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter and the Burn Stewart director of operations Billy Walker.

Walker quickly turned the distillery into a place of innovation and intrigue. He became Master Distiller and is credited with creating some of their best Whiskies.

Walker went on to bring GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh into the BenRiach family and again, made these into exceptional distilleries.

New Owners Once Again

Walker stuck with The BenRiach Distilling Company until 2016, when they all decided to sell their three distilleries to Brown Forman, a company that manages the likes of Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester.

Considering BenRiach was originally bought for around £5 million, the company sold it for an insane £285 million.
Talk about getting a return on your investment.

The distillery is still thriving, with Rachel Barrie, Master Blender at Morrison Bowmore, taking the helm.

This is an exciting time for BenRiach. They are definitely a distillery you’d want to be keeping an eye on.

What do you think of BenRiach Distillery? Let us know below!

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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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