There are many distilleries throughout Scotland, found on islands, next to lochs, on mountains, and tucked away in dense forests. Yet, of the many operational distilleries, only a select few are known across the globe. Mention the name of these distilleries in almost any bar in a whisky-drinking country and odds are someone will speak up, ready to tell the story of how they came to love said distillery’s whisky.
Macallan is one of these distilleries, and the whisky they produce stands as one of the best-selling single malts in the world, up there with the likes of The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.
Founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid, a local barley farmer, the distillery was run by locals in the area, growing within the community and helping the surrounding lands develop. Almost 70 years after the distillery began, it was bought by Roderick Kemp, who made it his mission to push the Macallan’s outstanding quality out to a broader market.
With Kemp’s efforts the distillery began to see a huge increase in popularity and sales throughout the first half of the twentieth century, leading to a major expansion which began in 1951.
In 1999, the Edrington Group, producer of The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark, bought a majority of the company’s shares. With Edrington’s backing, the 2000s have brought about huge success for the distillery. Here at just some of the company’s milestones.
- 2002 – The Macallan Fine & Rare collection was launched, receiving awards and praise from experts throughout the world.
- 2004 – The Macallan received its sixth Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
- 2005 – A bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 reached the world record price of £36,000 at auction.
- 2006 – The Macallan launched a ‘Mastery of Spirit & Crystal’ with The Macallan 50 Years Old in Lalique
- 2006 – Completed the final stage of Easter Elchies House refurbishment with on-site accommodation and opened the ‘Story of Wood’ at The Macallan Distillery in Warehouse 7.
- 2010 – The Macallan 64 years old in Lalique Cire Perdue sells for $460,000, breaking a new world record, at Sotheby’s in New York. All of the proceeds went to charity:water.
In more recent developments, construction on a brand new £100 million distillery adjacent to the current one is complete, with the new facilities due to open to the public this spring.
“Our plan for the estate includes a contemporary distillery that embodies the international style of The Macallan and builds on the brand’s tradition of quality and craftsmanship” says Ian Curle, Chief Executive Officer of the Edrington Group.
While we still don’t know the specifics concerning the new distillery’s production capacity, it’s clear that it will rise substantially. The new facilities have been designed to allow further expansion in the future. The new distillery is also set into the landscape, so as not to disturb the surrounding area.
The future seems to grow brighter and brighter for this wonderful distillery.