The Ardbeg Project



History of Ardbeg (...a work in progress)

Established 1815 | 1850 | 1900 | 1950 | 1997

Important Notes | References




1798

Islay Rentals record that Duncan McDougall, father of John and Alexander, rents the farms of Ardbeg, Airigh nam Beist and Ardenistiel, as well as half of the farm of Lagavulin. (MHA)


1815

Ardbeg Distillery is opened by McDougall & Co. (M&H)

1817-18

Ardbeg Distillery is operating (first recorded listing of operation) (M&H)


1818

Ardbeg Distillery is owned by John McDougall & Co. (M&H)
John McDougall & Co. partnership is dissolved. (M&H)


1825-34

Ardbeg Distillery is owned by John McDougall. (M&H)


1835

Death of Duncan McDougall. John McDougall succeeds his father as tacksman for the farms of Ardbeg and Airigh nam Beist. Alexander takes charge of the distillery. (MHA)
Output for Ardbeg Distillery is 500 gallons per week, as reported by Alfred Barnard (WDUK).
Financial backing for the distillery appears to have been from Glasgow merchant Thomas Buchanan Jr. (IWT)


1837

Ardbeg Distillery is owned by John & Alexander McDougall. (M&H)


1838

After J&A McDougall & Co becomes insolvent, the Ardbeg distillery premises are purchased by Thomas Buchanan Jr from the Glasgow firm of Buchanan Wilson & Co and leased back to Alexander McDougall & Co - with Buchanan becoming a partner in that firm. (MHA)


1850

Margaret McDougall hands over her management of Ardbeg Distillery to Colin Hay, son of Walter Frederick Campbell's coachman. (IWT)


1852-1902

Ardbeg Distillery is owned by Alexander McDougall & Co. (M&H)


1853

Death of Alexander McDougall, Margaret McDougall and Flora McDougall. (MHA)
According to Colin Hay, approximately 200 people living around Ardbeg & Lagavulin. (IWT)
After the death of Margaret & Flora McDougall, Colin Hay becomes sole proprietor of the business, training his son, Colin Elliot Hay, as a distiller. Financial backing remained from the Buchanans. Hay's other son, Walter, became a doctor, but remained part of the business. (IWT)


1855

John Ramsay becomes owner and landlord of Laphroaig, Ardenistiel, Lagavulin and Ardbeg Distilleries and their villages, pastures and associated farms. Ramsay ensures the current distillery owners had long leases and had properly secured water rights. (IWT)


1887

Alfred Barnard's book, "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom", is published.


1888

A new lease is granted to Alexander Wilson Gray Buchanan (heir to Thomas Buchanan Jr.) and to Colin Elliot Hay, which included rights to the Ardbeg pier (cost: 100/year). (IWT)


1889

Colin Elliot Hay ceases farming at Ardilestry and is of advanced age. (IWT)


1890s

Ardbeg Distillery is managed by Colin Elliot Hay whose distiller, John MacMillan, was from a prosperous local family. (IWT)


1892

John Ramsay dies. At the time of his death, he was owner and landlord of Laphroaig Distillery, Ardbeg Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery and Ardenistiel Distillery. (Whisky Magazine #63, Gavin Smith art.)


1899

Colin Elliot Hay dies. He is replaced in the business by a Mr. Campbell, a former trainee clerk. Campbell manages the distillery until the beginning of WWI, when he joins the army. (IWT)


1900

New lease is granted to Colin Elliot Hay's sons for farm and distillery at Ardbeg. The village housed over 40 distillery workers. (IWT)


1902

Alexander McDougall & Co. name is changed to Alexander McDougall & Co. Ltd. (M&H); (IWT)


1909-10

Listed as: Ardbeg Distillery, Islay, County of the city of Glasgow, Distillers. (SCLT, 1909-10)


1919-20

Colin E. Hay is running Ardbeg Distillery. (IWT)


1922

Ardbeg Distillery is sold by Iain Ramsay, the third of the Kildalton distilleries to be sold by Ramsay to maintain his estate. (IWT)


1928

Colin Elliot Hay dies. (PSS)
238 acre farm of Ardbeg was let to Archibald McAllister of Ardtalla for 11 years. (IWT)


1929

Archibald McAllister is relieved of tenancy when he goes bankrupt. (IWT)


1930s

Alexander Hay MacDougall is briefly manager of Ardbeg Distillery, then leaves after the possibility of irregularity in company books. (IWT)


1932-35

Ardbeg closed during these depressed years. (PSS)


1955

Subsidiary of: Alex. McDougall & Co. Ltd., Agents: London & S. England - Matthew Clark & Sons Ltd, N. England - Churtons Ltd., Scotland: Buchanan, Wilson & Co. Ltd. (HD, 1955)


1955-6

Subsidiary of: A. M'Dougall & Co., Islay. (SCLT, 1956)


1957-8

Owned by Alex McDougall (sp) & Co. Ltd., Glasgow. (TBM, 57-58)


1959

Alexander McDougall & Co. Ltd. assets are liquidated. (M&H) (IWT)
Ardbeg Distillery Ltd. is established. (M&H) (IWT)


1960

Cask 457, distilled in 1960, is seen being transported here.




1966

John Dewar & Sons Ltd. sell their investment in Ardbeg Distillery and North British Distillery. (SWIR/Dewar)


1973

Ardbeg Distillery Ltd. is superceded by Ardbeg Distillery Trust, which consisted of DCL and Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. (IWT)
Ardbeg Distillery is owned by Ardbeg Distillery Trust, Distillers Company Ltd. and Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. (a subsidiary of Hiram Walker-Gooderham Worts Ltd., Canada) (M&H)


1973-91

Subsidiary of: Ardbeg Distillery Ltd., Glasgow (TBM)


1976

Ardbeg Distillery is taken over by Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. (SWIR/BS)


1977

Ardbeg Distillery is taken over by Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. (M&H)


1979

Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. purchases remaining stock of Ardbeg Distillery, including minor shareholdings from DCL. (Schw) (SWIR)
Subsidiary of: Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. (SWIR)


1980

The floor maltings are used for the last time at Ardbeg. (PSS)


1981

Ardbeg Distillery closes on March 25th, 1981. (PSS)


1981-9

Ardbeg Distillery remains closed. (M&H)


1989

Ardbeg Distillery reopens. (M&H - Craig)


1989-96

Ardbeg Distillery is open 2 months every year for distilling. (PSS)


1992-5

Subsidiary of: Allied Distillers Ltd. (TBM)


1996

Ardbeg Distillery is closed by Allied-Domecq PLC. (I. Russell Com 4/96)


1997

In February, Ardbeg Distillery is purchased and re-opened by Glenmorangie PLC. (Daily Mail, 3/1/97, p. 26)
June 16 - First mash under Glenmorangie PLC ownership. (APP)
June 20 - First spirit trickles though at 2AM local time. (APP)
September 9 - First confirmed batch of Vintage Release 1978 is bottled. (TAP)
September 10 - First confirmed batch of the 17 is bottled. (TAP)
November 18 - The 1st release of Provenance is bottled at 55.6% (70cl) for UK/EU and Japan. (TAP)

Just as this picture suggests, the new bottle design complements the distillery perfectly. (MP)




1998

Old Kiln Cafe and Visitor Center is opened. (APP)
May 19 - The 2nd release of Provenance is bottled at 54.7% for USA. (TAP)
September 7 - First confirmed batch of Vintage Release 1975 is bottled. (TAP)


1999

New mashtun is added. New lauter stirring gear and a control panel are added for 300,000. (IWT)
June 23 - Single Cask 2391, The Manager's Choice, is the first Single Cask bottled under Glenmorangie.
October 20 - Single Cask 4702 is bottled for Ste. Dugas, France.
October 20 - Single Cask 4718 is bottled for V.E.L.I.E.R., Italy.


2000

Jan 1 - The Ardbeg Committee is officially formed. (Ardbeg Rules and Regulations)
New condenser and intermediate spirit receiver installed. (IWT)
February 4 - Ardbeg TEN is bottled for the first time under Glenmorangie. (TAP)
March 29 - The 3rd release of Provenance is bottled at 55% for USA and Japan. (TAP)
July 17 - Single Cask 2392 is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee.
July 17 - Single Cask 2393 was discovered empty, due to a wormhole. (APP)
July 17 - Single Cask 2394 replaces SC 2393, and is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee.
July 19 - Single Cask 4700 is bottled for Japan.
September 20 - The 4th release of Provenance is bottled at 55% for USA and Japan. (TAP)
December - Issue 1 of Momentous Minutes is published.


2001

April 25 - First confirmed batch of Vintage Release 1977 is bottled. (TAP)
August 15 - 21 year old is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee. (TAP)
October - Issue 2 of Momentous Minutes is published.
October 25 - First confirmed batch of Lord of the Isles is bottled. (TAP)


2002

March 26 - Single Cask 2395 is bottled for Japan.
March 26 - Single Cask 2396 is bottled for V.E.L.I.E.R., Italy.
March 26 - Single Cask 4716 is bottled for Germany.
March 26 - Single Cask 4701 is bottled for Societe Dugas and Clan des Grand Malts, France.
March 26 - Single Cask 4703 is bottled for V.E.L.I.E.R., Italy.
April 27 - Single Cask 2390 is bottled for Feis Ile 2002.
August - Issue 3 of Momentous Minutes is published.
October 22 - Single Cask 3475 is bottled for Oddbins, UK.
November 14 - Committee Reserve is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee. (TAP)


2003

May 5 - Cask Strength TEN is bottled for Japan.
May 5 - Single Cask 2782 is bottled for V.E.L.I.E.R, Italy.
August - Issue 4 of Momentous Minutes is published.
August 11 - Single Cask 2740 is bottled for Belgium.
October 9 - First confirmed batch of Uigeadail is bottled. (TAP)
November 12 - Very Young for Discussion is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee.
December - Issue 5 of Momentous Minutes is published.


2004

April 8 - Vintage Release 1990 is bottled for Japan and also sold at the Distillery. (TAP)
May 5 - Single Cask 2398 is bottled for Feis Ile 2004.
July 28 - First batch of Very Young is bottled. (TAP)
August 24 - Single Cask 866 is bottled for Oddbins, UK.
September 27 - Kildalton is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee.
October - Issue 6 of Momentous Minutes is published.
October 13 - Single Cask 861 is bottled for Germany.
October 13 - Single Cask 868 is bottled for Sweden.
October 13 - Single Cask 2781 is bottled for France.
October 14 - Single Cask 1146 is bottled for Italy.
October 14 - Single Cask 2739 is bottled for Italy.
October 14 - Single Cask 2780 is bottled for Denmark.
October 14 - Single Cask 3038 is bottled for Belgium.
October 20 - LVMH announces plans to purchase Glenmorangie PLC.
December 22 - Single Cask 1143 is bottled and sold at the Distillery.


2005

March 9 - Serendipity is bottled by MacDonald & Muir Limited. (TAP)
April 14 - Single Cask 4704 is bottled for Feis Ile 2005.
April 14 - Single Cask 4719 is bottled for Feis Ile 2005.
September 20 - Single Cask 2738 is bottled for Belgium.
September 20 - Single Cask 2741 is bottled for Sweden.
September 20 - Single Cask 2742 is bottled for Hotel Bars of the World.
September 20 - Single Cask 2743 is bottled for France.
September 20 - Single Cask 2749 is bottled for Norway.
September 20 - Single Cask 2751 is bottled for United Kingdom.
September 20 - Single Cask 2752 is bottled for Oddbins, UK.


2006

February 16 - Single Cask 4699 is bottled and sold at the Distillery.

Single Cask 4699 as seen in the 2002 filming of The Malt Project, Vol. I. (MP)



February 16 - Single Cask 4720 is bottled for Italy.
March 30 - Young Uigeadail is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee. (TAP)
March 31 - First batch of Still Young is bottled. (TAP)
May - Issue 7 of Momentous Minutes is published.
May 3 - Single Cask 4717 is bottled for Feis Ile 2006.
August - Stuart Thomson announces his intention to retire as Distillery Manager. (APP)
August 31 - Single Cask 3306 is bottled for Denmark.
August 31 - Single Cask 3309 is bottled for France.
September 13 - First batch of Airigh Nam Beist is bottled.(TAP)
September 25 - Single Cask 3326 is bottled for Germany.
September 25 - Single Cask 3327 is bottled for Italy.
September 25 - Single Cask 3328 is bottled for Italy.
September 25 - Single Cask 4547 is bottled for Sweden.
September 25 - Single Cask 4985 is bottled for United Kingdom.
September 25 - Single Cask 4989 is bottled for United Kingdom.
September 25 - Single Cask 5666 is bottled for United Kingdom.
September 26 - Single Cask 3324 is bottled for Belgium.
November 8 - Single Cask 1375 is bottled and sold at the Distillery.
November 8 - Single Cask 1378 is bottled for several EU markets.


2007

February 27 - First batch of Almost There is bottled. (TAP)
April - Issue 8 of Momentous Minutes is published.
April 11 - Single Cask 86 is bottled for Fortnum & Mason's 300th Anniversary.
June 2 - Ardbeg Mor is launched at Feis Ile 2007. (MM, Issue 8)
June 10 - Single Cask 1376 is bottled for Hong Kong Duty Free.
June 10 - Single Cask 2397 is bottled for DK, FR, IT, NO and SE.
October - Ardbeg TEN is announced as Jim Murray's "World Whisky of the Year" for 2008.


2008

March 19 - Corryvreckan is bottled for the Ardbeg Committee.
April 30 - First batch of Renaissance is bottled. (TAP)
May - Issue 9 of Momentous Minutes is published.
August 12 - First batch of Blasda is bottled. (TAP)
September 16 - First confirmed batch of NEW TEN is bottled. (TAP)
October - Blasda was launched in the UK/EU markets.
October - Ardbeg Uigeadail is announced as Jim Murray's "World Whisky of the Year" for 2009.
December 9 - Arbeg Supernova Committee release is bottled for UK and US. (TAP)
December 10 - Single Cask 772 is bottled and sold at the Distillery.
December 10 - Single Cask 1189 is bottled for Feis Ile 2009.
December 10 - Single Cask 1190 is bottled for Feis Ile 2009.


2009

January 20 - Ardbeg Supernova UK Committee release is offically launched into orbit.
March 13 - First confirmed batch of Supernova Stellar Release is bottled. (TAP)
June 15 - First confirmed batch of General Release Corryreckan is bottled. (TAP)
September - Issue 10 of Momentous Minutes is published.
October - Ardbeg Supernova is announced as Jim Murray's "Scotch Whisky of the Year" for 2010.
October 29 - Single Cask 1275 is bottled and sold at the Distillery.
November 9 - Single Cask 2763 is bottled, but not offered for sale until 2010.
December 10 - Ardbeg Rollercoaster Committee release is bottled for UK and US. (TAP)


2010

February 15 - Ardbeg Rollercoaster Committee release for UK and US is officially launched.
March 3 - Single Cask 1924 is bottled, but not sold at the Distillery until September 2010.
March 3 - Single Cask 2761 is bottled and later sold at Feis Ile 2010.
March 10 - First confirmed batch of Supernova SN2010 Release is bottled.
April 19 - Single Cask 2763 is offered for sale at the Distillery.
April 24 - Ardbeg hosts a 10th Anniversary party for the Ardbeg Committee in Chicago, Illinois.
May 6 - Single Cask 1217, the Lord Robertson Cask, is bottled.
May 31 - Official launch of the Supernova SN2010 Release.
July 7 - The Lord Robertson Single Cask 1217 is available from the Ardbeg Online Shop at 9AM GMT.
October 7 - Ardbeg USA and Rachel Barrie host a Committee celebration at the Barber Lounge in San Francisco, CA.
November 22 - Single Cask 368 goes on sale at the Distillery.






Notes:

1 - There seems to be two spellings of the McDougall/MacDougall name, and I've tried to keep the spelling the same as the reference used. Apologies for any inaccuracies contained within.

2 - The dates attributed on Single Cask labels do not always correspond to the bottle code, if present, though they are usually only off one day. For historical references here, we'll use the bottled date on the label.



References:

Barnard, Alfred. The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. Online version, http://www.wormtub.com/alfred_barnard/distillery.php?distillery=Ardbeg (accessed August 18th, 2010). (WDUK)

Craig, Charles H. The Scotch Whisky Industry Record. Dumbarton, Scotland: Index Publishing Ltd. 1994. (SWIR)

Jefford, Andrew. Peat Smoke and Spirit: A Portrait of Islay and its Whiskies. London: Headline Book Publishing. 2004. (PSS)

Morrice, Philip. The Schweppes Guide to Scotch. Dorset, UK: Alphabooks. 1983. (Schw)

Moss, Michael & Hume, John. The Making of Scotch Whisky: A History of the Scotch Whisky Distilling Industry. Edinburgh, UK: James & James. 1981. (M&H)

Potter, John G., ed. A list of Active Scotch Malt Whisky Distilleries. (1953-1962). The Brewery Manual. (TBM)

Smith, Gavin D. & Wallace, Graeme. Ardbeg: A Peaty Provenance. UK: GW Publishing. 2008. (APP)

Stone, Douglas. Email Correspondance and Documentation. June 27, 2009.
(Doug supplied a timeline that contained almost all of the citations prior to 1997 for the start of this history page.)

The Malt Project, Volume I: The Distilleries of Islay. Dir. Jack Oswald. Jack Oswald Communications, 2003. DVD. (MP)

Wilson, Neil. The Island Whisky Trail: An Illustrated Guide to The Hebridean Whisky Distilleries. Angel's Share: Neil Wilson Publishing. 2003. (IWT)

Moet-Hennessy Archives (MHA)

The Ardbeg Project, Codes. "Bottle Codes". Tim Puett et al. http://www.ardbegproject.com/codes.shtml (accessed April 17, 2010). (TAP)









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