The Magical History of the Great Brora Distillery
(to come)

    For some reason, the distillery is sold to James Ainslie & Company, who were Scotch whisky blenders in Leith. The trade journal ‘Harper’s Weekly’ writes these laudatory lines: ‘a singularly valuable property, as the make has always obtained the highest price of any single Scotch whisky. It is sent out, duty-paid, to private customers all over the kingdom, and it also commands a very valuable export trade: the demand for it in that way is so great that the proprietors… have for many years been obliged to refuse trade orders’.
Hmm, I guess the Lawsons were very good at PR, weren’t they? Anyway, Ainslie & Co doesn’t seem to want to rely only on individual customers, and decide to expand the distillery immediately. It’s practically rebuilt on a much larger scale, so that it can meet both the demand of the private customers and the demand of the wholesalers.


(from the compare book)

    The rebuilding is completed in 1897-1898, new warehouses are added, and an old stone from the first distillery is inserted into a wall of the new still house (see picture – taken around 1950). This stone bears the coats of arms of both the Marquess of Stafford and the Countess of Sutherland, together with the date ‘1820’. That might indicate that Clynelish didn’t start distilling right in 1819, but rather one year later, when the building was completed – just a guess.

    The Pelton water wheel, which had supplied all the motive power, is supplemented by a horizontal steam engine (made by Shanks of Arbroath, according to Brian Spiller).

    The distillery is equipped with some screw and band conveyors that are moving the raw materials throughout the various parts of the distillery, and a powerhouse is built to provide electric lighting.

(from the compare book)