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Title: An economic history of the distilling industry in Scotland, 1750-1914
Author: Glen, Iseabal Ann
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 1969
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This historical survey of the Scotch whisky industry attempts to cover the period from the late eighteenth century when distilleries first emerge as commercial enterprises in Scotland, through the changes of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of the First World War. The study opens with a short introduction, which is followed by observations on the nature and state of distilling in Scotland, based on the Old Statistical Account, and by an examination of the legislative framework affecting the industry up to the year 1823. The problems of illicit distillation, such as the attitudes of landowners, and the Excise authorities, the supply of equipment, and whisky smuggling, are treated in a separate section. The proliferation of licensed pot still distilleries in the early nineteenth century is supported by case studies of individual entrepreneurs and their business activities, while the problems of the Lowland capitalist distillers are considered in a section devoted to the enterprises of the Stein family, which spans the years from c.1780 to c. 1840. The innovation of the patent still, producing alcohol by continuous distillation, took place from 1826 onwards, and it had profound effects on the structure of the Scotch whisky industry. A consideration of the changes associated with the patent still culminates in a study of the rise of the Distillers' Company Ltd. A gap in business records from 1840 to 1860 is partially bridged by material from the New Statistical Account and other contemporary sources, as well as by a review of legislative modifications during the nineteenth century. The expansion which distilling in Scotland enjoyed from 1870 to 1898 is discussed under the title of 'The Great Distillery Promotion'. This phase came to an abrupt end with the collapse of the firm of Pattisons, Ltd., of Leith, which was a substantial blending and broking organisation. The events of the period 1887 to 1914 are described from the records provided by William Grant & Sons, Ltd., Glasgow, and these demonstrate the problems of establishing a new distillery, and of promoting trade in blended whiskies both in the home market and abroad. This economic history of the Scotch whisky industry is concluded with an investigation of whisky blending, the conflicts which it provoked, such as the 'What is Whisky Case' of 1905, and the subsequent appointment of a Royal Commission in 1908, whose findings confirmed the arrival of blended Scotch whisky. The account also traces the effect of government interference on the Scotch whisky industry, which has proved such a lucrative producer of revenue and foreign exchange for the British economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral