Made in the whiskiest place in the world, Glen Scotia has a long history of high-quality spirits and incredibly good fortune.
Based in Campbeltown, Glen Scotia has been working hard to make their spirits and put their region back on the map. The history of the brand is tied to the history of Campbeltown itself; a region that once boasted a distillery on nearly every corner. As Campbeltown’s fortune waxed and waned, so too did Glen Scotia’s. Luckily for whisky drinkers worldwide, Glen Scotia not just survived, but thrived, and now, the distillery is working hard to make the best whisky on the market.
The Kintyre peninsula, where Campbeltown is situated, was a distiller’s paradise, with ample supply of all the necessary ingredients for whisky. Barley, peat, plenty of fuel, and most importantly, a bountiful supply of clear fresh water was all available locally. Since at least as early as 1600’s distillers have been operating in the region, with the first license for ‘aqua vitae’ production issued in 1609. By the end of 1795 there were at least 31 documented illicit stills up and running in the area in and around Campbeltown.
In 1832, the Scotia Distillery was formed by the town’s Dean of Guild James Stewart and Provost John Galbraith. At the height of Campbeltown’s whisky production, steam ships whisked bottles of spirits directly to Glasgow in just nine hours. In 1835, 29 distilleries were thriving in the area, but the boom wouldn’t last.
The 1920’s proved to be a death blow to the area—the great depression and prohibition in the US had greatly reduced sales. Then in 1923 the Drumlemble Colliery closed its doors putting an end to the supply of cheap local fuel. At the end of 1929, only three of the original distilleries remained; Ri-Clachan, Springbank, and Scotia. By March 20, 1930, Scotia was forced to close its doors for the next three years. Fortunately, the dry spell didn’t last too long for Scotia. In 1933 the Bloch Brothers bought the facility and re-opened with the updated Glen Scotia name. By 1934 Ri-Clachan closed leaving Capmbeltown with only two remaining distilleries.
For the next sixty years the two remaining distilleries survived as best they could. In 1984, the doors of Glen Scotia closed once more, this time for five years before luck struck again. In 1989, the distillery opened once again under ownership by the Gibsons. As demand for whiskey grew, Glen Scotia thrived, changing hands to the current team of Loch Lomond. Campbeltown began to reestablish itself as a major whiskey-producing region after almost 100 years. In 2000, the Glengyle distillery reopened bringing the total number of local distilleries back up to three for the first time in over 60 years.
Despite being one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, Glen Scotia has been making huge waves and helping to put Campbeltown back on the world whisky map. The brands whiskies have won countless awards including the coveted Best in Show at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
With such a tumultuous history, you might be surprised to learn that Glen Scotia hasn’t changed too much about the way they make whisky over the years. In fact, the team works hard to maintain their historic surroundings. The mashtun, stillroom, and even the dunnage warehouse date back to the 1830s. One of the few changes has been that instead of malting their own barley; they now buy the material from elsewhere in Scotland. However, all the purchased barley is malted to Glen Scotia’s exact specifications to ensure a true Glen Scotia character shines through. The result is a one-of-a-kind, award-winning whisky that stands the tests of time.