Newspapers

Here, we'll be listing any historical newspaper sources for Glen Mhor and discussing their relevance. These are in order of date of publication and thanks to Jeremy for his assistance.


Aberdeen Journal & General Advertiser for the North of Scotland - 28th February 1881

Here's a very early mention of John Birnie at Benrinnes with the price of barley being paid for in the region. Take a moment to look at some of the other names on this select list; George Cowie (Mortlach), the Grant's of Glenfarclas and Fleming of Aberlour immediately stick out.

The timing is perfect, as we know John joined Glen Albyn in 1885 and for 8 years prior was at the Benrinnes distillery. So, this is where his whisky career began and ultimately led to the creation of Glen Mhor. He was surrounded and potentially tutored by some major distillers in his earliest days. 




Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser - Tuesday 16th April 1889

We know John Birnie was quite an adept golfer, and there are plenty of newspaper reports showing how well he was playing. However, these also confirm he was in Inverness (as manager/distiller of Glenalbyn) in 1889, so it gives us context. 





Banffshire Advertiser - Thursday 16th November 1893

'New Distilleries in the North.

Mr John Birnie, late manager of Glenalbyn Distillery, Inverness, has taken off a feu for the immediate erection of a distillery, on a pretty large scale, in close proximity to where the Glenalbyn Distillery is situated...'




Elgin Courant & Morayshire Advertiser - Friday 12th January 1894

Given John Birnie's roots in Speyside and family, it's no surprise that the news of his new venture was so widely covered. This article is a lovely resource, giving us the dimensions of the site.






Inverness Courier - Friday 7th September 1894

'Draff - We, the undersigned, are now open to Book Orders for the ensuing Season's DRAFF. Prices to be for orders under 30 Bushes, 6d: for under 60 Bushels, 5.5d.: for 60 Bushels and upwards, 5d.

Signed: Haig & Co Millburn Distillery. R.V. Buchanan & Co. Haugh Brewery, Guild & Wylie, Thornbush Brewery, Mackinlays & Birnie, Glen-mhor distillery, The Glenalbyn distillery coy., Glenalbyn Distillery.'



Aberdeen Journal & General Advertiser - 23rd May 1895

'Mr John Birnie, Distiller, Inverness, said he was decidedly in favour of the Great North Bill.'

This debate centres on the Great North of Scotland railway legislation. From a distillery aspect, the arrival of the railways ensured a quick and convenient route to market in comparison to the hazards and duration of shipping by water or road. We know from our Documents Section that Glen Mhor made great use of the railways for shipping barley and coal in later years.

There's also the aspect of John Birnie being a respected voice in the community. One that would lead to him serving on the council in future years. In addition, how respected distillers had become within the community as well. 




Inverness Courier - Tuesday 22nd October 1895

'Stillman - wanted, Experienced STILLMAN by 5th November. Apply, with references, the Manager, Glen-Mhor Distillery, Inverness.'



Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 27 December 1895

'Additions have been made to the Inverness Tweed Mill, the Thornbush Brewery, and the Glen Mhor Distillery.'



Inverness Courier - Tuesday 7th January 1896

This entry gives us context regarding Charles W. Mackinlay who was a partner in the family firm with James Mackinlay, and introduced him to John Birnie, thereby enabling the creation of Glen Mhor.


The National Guardian July 10th 1896

Here's an interesting find thanks to Distillery View. An advertisement for a Wine and Spirits retailer that already mentions Glen Mhor and their representation. Despite the distillery not having whisky as such ready to bottle.





Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 28th August 1896

'Mr George Watson, farmer, Muirtown, near Inverness, thrashed a field of barley on Tuesday, and it was delivered in capital condition at the Glen Mhor distillery the same day. The natural weight turned out 57.5lbs, per bushel, which is regarded as highly satisfactory.'




Dundee Courier - Friday 16 October 1896

'Opening of a new distillery at Inverness.

On Wednesday afternoon the introduction of the electric light at the new Glen Mhor Distillery, erected at Muirtown, Inverness, by Messrs Mackinlay & Birnie, was made the subject of a very interesting ceremony. A large number of commercial and business gentlemen of the town were present, and, having been courteously shown over the premises, they were entertained to a sumptuous lunch by the proprietors.'



Ross-shire Journal - Friday 16 October 1896

'On Wednesday afternoon the electric light was introduced to the new Glenmhor Distillery erected at Muirtown, Inverness, by Messrs Mackinlay & Birnie.'




Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland - Wednesday 21 October 1896

'A large company of leading citizens of Inverness were last week entertained to luncheon at Glen-Mhor Distillery by Messers Mackinlay 7 Birnie, the occasion being the introduction of electric light into this new fully equipped establishment.

The installation was carried out by the British Electric Company, and the arrangements are particularly good for the efficient working of the distillery. The dynamo is worked by the turbine that works the machinery, the power, which is obtained by a thirty feet fall by the canal, being sampled for both purposes. After inspecting the lighting arrangements, and having a look around the premises - which were in exquisite order - the company sat down to a superb champagne lunch in the large grandory, Mr Mackinlay being in the chair, with Mr Birnie as croupier.

After the toast of Her Majesty, the Chairman gave "The Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of Inverness," and mentioned that Provost MacLean has sent word that he regretted his inability to be present. Ballie Johnathan Ross replied to the toast in happy terms? The installation of the electric light in the Distllery, ????, he said, what private enterprise could do. They tried a few years ago to get the electric light for the town of Inverness, but the proposal did not get the support of the council (applause).

Mr Mackinlay, who, on rising, was cordially applauded, said the manner in which the toast had been proposed and received had quite taken away any power of eloquence he possessed, and that was very little. His partner and himself were exceedingly obliged to the gentlemen present for the way they had received the toast of their health.

He was sorry that his poor brother, who had died in Inverness some nine months ago, had not lived to be present with them on this occasion. It was his brother who first met with Mr Birnie, and formed the idea of partnership in this distillery, which, he might say, had already proved a success (applause). He believed there was every reason to suppose that success would still continue.

There were two things necessary to make a distillery successful, and that was that there should be good whisky, and that an outlet should be found for it - (hear, hear). There was no one better qualified than Mr Birnie to make good whisky - (hear, hear) - and with the aid of their good friends in the trade they had been able to secure a good outlet for their whisky - (applause).

The distillery had now been opened for two years, and they took the occasion of the inauguration of the electric light to have the ceremony of that day. he could not say whether too much whisky was going to be made, considering all the new stills now in operation. There was no doubt that competition was very great; but, on the other hand, the demand for Scottish whisky was increasing. New outlets were being opened up, especially in continental cities and in the United States of America.'



Northern Counties - Wednesday 2nd December 1896

'At Inverness on Saturday afternoon, plans were lodged by competitive companies for the construction of the proposed lines from Inverness to Fort Augustus. In the case of the Highland Railway Company, the line will leave the north section at Clachnaharry, and keep the west side of the Caledonian Canal; thence sirt the shores of Loch Dochfur, immediately below Mr Ballie's mansion.

The line will hug as closely as possible the shores of Loch Ness, and will cross the Caledonian Canal for the first time at Fort Augustus, where it will join the line from Fort Augustus sanctioned last year. In the plans submitted on behalf of the North British and West Highland Railway Companies, it is proposed to start from Fort Augustus, at about the same spot, and follow almost the same route to Tomnahurich Bridge.

There it is proposed to cross the Caledonian Canal and form a junction on the Dalneigh Farm; one brand from this point running down to Tomnahurich Street, in close proximity to the suspension bridge, and the other running on past Glen Mhor distillery and the tweed mills to Upper Kessock Street, where it will join the Highland line.'




Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland - Wednesday 6th January 1897

'Glen Mhor distillery alone being responsible for an expenditure of £1700 in houses and a bonded warehouse.'




Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 21 January 1897

'The Railway Companies desirous of getting into Inverness are willing to run their lines close to Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn distilleries. As these distilleries have the Caledonian Canal, too, their facilities for away their output should be more complete.'



Highland News - Saturday 31st July 1897

'Mr Birnie, Glen Mhor Distillery.'




Inverness Courier - Friday 20th August 1897

'Presentation - On Tuesday Mr Robt. Robertson, Glen Mhor Distillery, was presented by the workmen with a handsome pipe and sealskin tobacco pouch on the occasion of his marriage, which took place on Wednesday. Mr Hendry presided and made the presentation in eulogistic terms. Several friends spoke of the high regard in which the guest of the evening was held, and Mr Robertson freelingly replied.'



Dundee Advertiser - Friday 20th August 1897

'The marriage of Miss K.A. Eccles, eldest daughter of Mr Eccles, Tomnaburich Street, to Mr Robert Robertson, brewer, Glen Mhor Distillery, took place on Wednesday afternoon in St Andrews Cathedral, Inverness.

The ceremony was performed by Calion Lewelly. The bridge, who was given away by her father, was becomingly gowned in sliver grey brocade with cased front white satin, and wore a white hat arranged with loops of white chiffon and tips, and carried a shower bouquet of choice exotics. She was attended by two bridesmaids. There was a large party of guests, while the centre of the edifice was well filled with interested spectators.

The register signed, the young couple left for the Ordnance Hotel, where they received the wedding party, and where they entertained young and old to cake and wine and a sumptuous repast. Among the guests, and who appeared much interested in the proceedings, were a venerable couple, the bride's grandparents. On Tuesday evening the bridegroom was presented by the workmen of the distillery, on the auspicious event, with a handsome pipe and sealskin tobacco pouch as a mark of respect in which he is held amongst them.'




Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser - Tuesday 19th October 1897

'Messrs Mackinlays & Birnie have issued a handsome booklet bearing the title "Pictures of Inverness, with a Peep into Glen Mhor Distillery." The views of the Highland Capital and neighbourhood are beautifully printed, and descriptive notes are written by Mr Alfred Barnard. The pictures of Glen Mhor Distillery, both exterior and interior, are interesting, and give a capital idea of the arrangements.

From the letterpress and illustrations combined it is possible to get a clear understanding of the working of an up-to-date distillery. The booklet also contains a description, lavishly illustrated...'



Northern Scot and Moray & Nairn Express - Saturday 12th February 1898

'"THE DISTILLERS AND BREWERS' MAGAZINE."

The February number of "The Distillers' and Brewers' Magazine and Trade News" forms the eleventh number of this periodical, and this is perhaps the largest and best that has yet appeared.

The matter traverses a wide field, and gives evidence that the magazine is being well supported by the trade in general. It abounds in well printed illustrations. There are no fewer than three "occasional supplements," one descriptive of Glen Mhor Distillery, Inverness and Messrs Mackinlay's warehouses in Leith; another with description and good views of Speyburn-Glenlivet Distillery, Rothes; and last but not least, a description of the new offices of the Distillers' Company Limited, in Edinburgh, with views specially prepared for this issue.'



Highland News - Saturday 6th August 1898

A bit of fun...




Highland News - Saturday 19th November 1898

'Dean of Guild Court - At the Inverness Dean of Guild Court on Monday plans were passed a duty-free warehouse which Messers Mackinlays & Birnie are erecting as an addition to their Glen Mhor Distillery in Telford Street. The estimated cost of the warehouse is £573.'




Inverness Courier - Friday 29 September 1899

'DRAFF. - Customers unless otherwise advised, will get their Supplies on TUESDAY morning of each week, beginning 3rd October. Glen-Mhor Distillery, Inverness.'



Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 25 November 1899

'The following are the principle prices per bulk gallon: ...Glen Mhor 3s 4d'



Aberdeen Weekly Journal & General Advertiser - 28th March 1900

'Mr Wm Birnie, secretary, Benrinnies Distillery, a gentleman widely known and greatly respected in the Aberlour district, died on Thursday morning from complications'

'...had a thorough knowledge of the scientific and practical aspects of distilling. He took a keen interest in the question of distillery pollution and in the various schemes to remedy the evil.'

This is an interesting find on several levels. It underlines the Birnie family passion for distilling; seemingly in their blood. John Birnie worked at Benrinnes from 1877, for 8 years before departing to Glen Albyn distillery. 

It's always been a question as to why John would leave a career in banking to become a distiller? Sent to learn a craft before returning to the family business? That's something we see, even today, in Gordon & MacPhail. 

The pull of family seems to have been strong. Learning from his uncle? before embarking on a new opportunity in Inverness. With this William Birnie only being born in 1853, that's too young to be John's father, but an uncle or other relation seems more likely. Whatever the relationship, William may have been the inspiration and recognition for naming John's own son, who would continue the family passion for distilling. 






Inverness Courier - Friday 7 March 1902

'Price of grain for the season... John Birnie, Glen-Mhor Distillery. Barley, 1402 qrs, 3 bushels... £1631 18 4'




Inverness Courier - Friday 17 May 1904

'In the vicinity of the Muirtown Bridge the water flooded the roadway. The Sub-Post-office near the bridge was inundated, and the rushing stream made its way about a hundred yards along Telford Street. The house belonging to the lock-keeper, a few yards below the swing bridge, was flooded, and a quantity of water found its way into the grounds of the Glen-Mhor Distillery, situated on low ground in the vicinity. The pressure put upon the turbine wheel in connection with the distillery was so great that one of the joints burst, and a great amount of water flowed into the grounds. No damage, however, was done to the buildings.'




Highland News - Saturday 21st May 1904

'No time has been lost in repairing the damage done to the masonry, and a staff of workmen have also been employed in attending to the leaks which were made in the turbine at the Glen Mhor Distillery'.



North Star and Farmers' Chronicle - Thursday 28 November 1907

'Retirement of MR R. FERGUSON, L.R. - After over 40 years of service in the Inland Revenue, Mr Robert Ferguson has retired. For the past eighteen years he has been located at Inverness, where he has many friends. On Saturday evening a pleasant function took place in the offices of Mackinlays & Birnie, Limited, Glen-Mhor Distillery, where Mr Ferguson was met and presented with suitable gifts.

Bailie John Birnie, managing director, occupated the chair, and referred to the faithful way in which Mr Ferguson had discharged his important duties. During his thirty years experience in the distillery business, he said he had never met an officer more reliable or more courteous than Mr Ferguson. (Applause.) While they regretted Mr Ferguson's retirement, it was pleasing that he was still hale and hearty, and as fit for business as ever. (Applause.)...'





Inverness Courier - Friday 21 February 1908

MR TENNYSON SMITH'S TEMPERANCE MEETINGS

'Crowded meetings are being addressed in the Music Hall nightly by Mr Tennyson Smith, the advocate of total abstinence. On Tuesday night the chair was occupied by Dr F. M. Mackenzie, and the singing was led by Herr Waack. 

Mr Smith spoke, incidentally, of a visit he had paid to the Glen-Mhor Distillery, where he had met Bailie Birnie. He wanted to know the shareholders in the distillery business. If they were ashamed of other people knowing, they should get out of the business; and if they were not ashamed to own the shares, then he was not ashamed to tell the people who they were. Bailie Birnie told him he (Mr Smith) was holding the liquor-sellers up to ridicule and obloquy, and was bluffing the public. If so, he only wished that the liquor-sellers would prosecute him. If political parties did nothing for the people, the working-man, by signing the pledge, would do more for himself in one night than the Government would do for him in twenty years. (Applause). 

On Wednesday evening, Mr Smith have him a characteristically vigorous address on "the searchlight flashed on the liquor traffic and traffickers." The chair was occupied by Mr Arthur D. Ross, J.P. Solos were rendered by Miss Pearson'. 




Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland - Wednesday 21st September 1910

GLEN MHOR DISTILLERY
'An appeal was lodged by Mackinlay and Birnie, Limited, against the valuation of £225 on Glen-Mhor Distillery, because of depreciation in value and increased taxation. A fair valuation, with greatly restricted volume of business, would, they stated, be £150.

The Assessor said the valuation of £225 had been very moderate for this reason, that he did not look upon the Glen-Mhor Distillery as an old establishment, but one that was still forging ahead in opening up new avenues of trade. The distillery had not been working at full capacity, and he therefore did not disturb the valuation of £225, which was the original figure fixed. His position was that he would resist any reduction in the valuation. 

Bailie Birnie said the distillery had been idle for 5 months this summer, and apart from that, during the winter their work was restricted to the extent of one-third. That meant a good deal. he understood the principle of fixing the valuation was what the subject would let at from one year to another. He thought if the Assessor had applied himself to the subject he could have seen that distilleries all over the country could be had for an old song. If the Assessor had looked at what was done in other places he would also find that there was not an assessor that had not given effect to great reductions. In Morayshire there were 21 distilleries, and their reduction amounted to £2703, averaging £135 all over. 

Provost Gossip - Were these distilleries working?
Bailie Birnie said they were working more or less. Another point which the Assessor did not take into consideration - a point about which much was hear - was the great increase in duty under the Finance Act.

Mr George Young - Who pays that?
Bailie Birnie - We pay it.
Bailie Birnie said if they granted the appeal and put the valuation at £150, he would be put in line with other distilleries and no more.
Provost Gossip said it seemed to him that the valuation on which Bailie Birnie was paying rates for the distillery had never been too heavy.
Bailie Birnie said it was heavy enough for the size of the place. Maltings regulated what should be paid, and at the Glen-Mhor Distillery the maltings were very moderate.
Ex-Bailie Macdonald said there was a great deal in what Bailie Birnie had said, and he moved that the valuation should be £150. 
Mr Macallan moved that the valuation should be left as at present.
Mr Murray moved that the valuation be reduced to £200, and on a division Mr Murray's motion was adopted.'





Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 15th December 1922

Whisky Profits
Inverness Distillery Claim

'The War Compensation Court sat at Edinburgh yesterday, the bench consisting of Lord Hunter and Sir Plunket Barton.

Counsel were heard in a claim against the Admiralty by Messers Mackinlays and Birnie, Ltd. Inverness. The claim arose out of the requisition by the Admiralty of the Glen Mhor Distillery, Muirtown, Inverness. The premises were occupied by the United States Navy. The original claim was made for £4227, the chief item being £3880 in respect of loss of profit in connection with the prevention of the firm from storing and drying barley for Food Controller and distilling.

Mr MacRobert, K.C., for the claimants, said in 1916 and 1917 there was a restriction on the output of whisky, and from the middle of 1917 until 10th January, 1919, there was a total prohibition of manufacture.

Lord Hunter - At the time that possession was taken there was prohibition?
Mr MacRobert - Yes, and I claim not one penny for the whole period they were in my distillery to when prohibition ceased. My only period of claim is between 10th January and 1st March, apart from another claim of £1080 for a period of a few months when I was in position to do certain work for the Food Ministry and could not. 

Later his lordship remarked - After all, the distillers of this country are not amongst the class who have the greatest grievance connected with what occurred during the war. Mr MacRobert said that even a distiller was entitled to get justice.

Lord Hunter - You are entitled to get everything you prove in respect of direct loss, but I certainly will not sit in this court and hear large claims in respect of hypothetical profits. 

Mr MacRobert, continuing, said there were 130 distilleries in Scotland, five of which were requisitioned. One hundred and twenty-five distilleries started to distil on 19th January 1919, cutting his clients out of customers.

Lord Hunter - How do the profits stand since this date?

Mr MacRobert - Big profits have undoubtedly been made since the war, largely because distilling businesses suffered during the war. That is the reason why there is a bigger price now. 

Evidence having been led in support of the claim, Mr Wark, K.C., for the Admiralty, said that he did not propose to call any evidence unless the court desired to hear anything on the question of rental...'






Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 13th October 1934

'Expect to Use More Scottish Barley.
Inverness, Friday.

Highland distilleries are looking forward to a good season. Several have already begun operations, and the Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor Distilleries, both in Inverness, will start their season's work on Monday.

The Millburn Distillery, Inverness, will start in November. 

A prominent Highland distillery said in an interview that an increase in the use of Scottish barley is certain this year. "Although it means considerably more expense to the distiller, he will use Scottish barley in preference to foreign. Moreover, the foreign barley harvest this year is much poorer than last year..."'




Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 14th October 1937

'Widely Known In North

Late Mr Robt. Robertson, Inverness

One of the best known distillery managers in the North. Mr Robert Robertson died at his home, Glenalbyn House, Telford Street, Inverness, after a short illness.

He was for 43 years manager of the Glen Mhor Distillery, Inverness.

A native of Glass, Aberdeenshire, he was 72 years of age. He learned the distillery business at Mortlach Distillery, Dufftown.

He went to Inverness as manager of Glen Mhor Distillery, and on the formation of the firm of Messrs Mackinlays and Birnie in 1906, he was appointed secretary.

During the war Mr Robertson acted as a special constable, and retained his interest in that work until his death.

He was held in high regard not only by his employers but by a large circle of friends and business acquaintances throughout North of Scotland.

Mr Robertson was a member of Old High Church. He is survived by a son, who has an electrical engineering business in Inverness and 3 daughters.'



 Aberdeen Press & Journal - Saturday 12th August 1944
'Whisky to be distilled
Food Minister's Intimation at Inverness

The food situation has improved sufficiently to permit a limited amount of whisky distilling, the Food Minister, Col. Llewellin, announced yesterday.

He was speaking at Inverness, and he told his audience that the Government hoped it would thereby help a great Highland industry which was of value to the country.

A little later the Food Minister inspected the Glen Mhor distillery and met ex-Provost Birnie, who is in his ninetieth year and the oldest distillery in Scotland. Col, Llewelling was told that even with depleted staffs the Scottish distilleries, could maintain their production at pre-war level.'




Aberdeen Press & Journal - Wednesday 8th November 1944

'34 Distilleries to Resume
Scottish distilleries will resume work on a restricted scale early in the New Year making the first whisky that has been produced since 1940.'

Glen Mhor is listed amongst the privately-owned distilleries to restart, but not Glen Albyn.



Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 24th January 1930 (reviewing this date, due to later articles that appear next) has to be a filing error

'Loss to Scottish Golf.
Mr Jack Birnie Dead.
Popular Inverness Amateur.

Scottish golf in general, and northern gold in particular, have suffered a great loss by the death of Mr John Birnie, jun., Inverness, which took place after a short illness in a nursing home there yesterday.

Trained in banking, Mr Birnie was in India for a few years, but after the war he took over the duties of distiller of the Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn Distilleries, belonging to Mackinlay's and Birnie, Ltd., of which his father, an ex-Provost of Inverness, is the managing director.

During the past eight years Jack Birnie as he was familiarly called, had been in the front rank amongst Scottish amateurs. He had a fine style, and was particularly skilful with his irons, his play with these being first-class...'



The Scotsman - Monday 25th February 1946

'Death of Ex-Provost

The death occurred at Balnafettack, Inverness, on Saturday of Mr John Birnie, a former Provost of Inverness, and the oldest distiller in Scotland. He was in his 92nd year. Mr Birnie was a native of Banffshire. In 1885 he went from Speyside to Inverness, to take charge of the Glen Albyn Distillery, and in 1893 he built Glen Mhor Distillery.

He was managing director of Mackinlay & Birnie, distillers. Mr Birnie was a member of Inverness Town Council for 16 years, being Provost from 1910 to 1916. He took a deep interest in Highland education, and was for 7 years the chairman of the Finance Committee of Inverness-shire Education Authority. He had been a prominent golfer and curler.'



St Louis Globe Democrat - 13th August 1961

Here's a fun story that appeared during our random searches. Could this be Glen Mhor, Glen Albyn or Millburn? All 3 were being increasingly engulfed by Inverness as it expanded and ultimately that's the moral of this story. That expansion and thirst for land would eventually choke and kill each of the distilleries along with other factors.

We've filed this one under 'to be solved' and it could be Glen Mhor - just a look at our aerial photographs confirms the change in the surrounding area over time.




Chattanooga Daily times, Tennessee - 11th February 1962

'William Birnie, head of the distilling company of Mackinlays & Birnie, said Scotland's whisky production is running 25 to 30 million gallons a year greater than demand.'

Here's an early story linked to William's annual whisky statistics and reported worldwide - the original whisky bible. So, as early as 1962, he was saying overproduction was an issue across the industry. History shows no one listened until it was too late as we'll see in the histories of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor.





Chicago Tribune - 19th May 1971

'Visitors to Scotland can find out firsthand by touring Glen Mhor Distillery, Inverness, weekdays 10am to noon and 2 to 4pm.'

A promotional mention in an article highlighting travel to Scotland and whisky. What's interesting is that it confirms tours were being offered in 1971, which is unusual. Many distilleries had not yet thought about whisky tourism or the potential to offer tours.

This puts Glen Mhor amongst the first to do tours, Glenfiddich in 1969 claims the outright title, it might have not had a dedicated visitor centre (Glenfarclas was one of the first to build such a building in 1973), but it proves how forward-thinking the independent owners were. This is something we're seeing throughout the history of the distillery with a water turbine, electricity and the Saladin maltings.

Offering tours could also be the knock-on effect of struggling to find orders for filling? Onsite sales are unclear, but it also gives us the possibility that the distillery gates were unlocked to visitors for a short time at least, with DCL taking over in 1972, when these tours would have been no longer supported.






Aberdeen Press and Journal - Tuesday 30th January 1973

'In Doubt
The future of the Glen Mhor brand of Highland malt whisky is in doubt following the take-over of the Inverness distillery by the Distillers Company.

When the distillery was owned and operated by Mackinlays and Birnie Ltd., the bulk of production went for blending but a small part - both six year old and 10 year old - was bottled by Mackinlays and sold mainly in the Inverness area.

After December this year, however, Mackinlay's will cease to bottle the Glen Mhor malt.

And the new owners of the distillery, DCL's Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd., said they intend using the whisky for blending purposes only.

However, the firm said it was still open to others to purchase quantities of the malt and bottle it and market it themselves.'




Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 4th May 1973

'Grand old man of whisky of the Highland whisky industry has died aged 85.

Mr William Birnie, 13 Drummond Crescent, Inverness, was a director of Mackinlays and Birnie Ltd., who ran the Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn distilleries until they were taken over last year. Mr Birnie annually produced a set of statistics which were regarded as the bible of the whisky industry.

Because of his ill health, the pamphlet was not published this year.

Mr Birnie, the younger son of Mr John Birnie, who established the Glen Mhor Distillery, was born and brought up in Inverness. He qualified as a chartered accountant after studying in Edinburgh and London.'



The Guardian 24th August 1973

This review from DCL Chairman, Sir Alex McDonald, gives us a snapshot of where the company was at the end of its financial year (31st March 1973) and future plans.

What's particularly interesting are his comments on the acquisition of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor...

'increased quantities of Highland malt whisky have become available through the acquisition of Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn distilleries in Inverness.'

This confirms the motivation for their purchase (blending stock) with no interest in a single malt presence. Aberfeldy distillery was also expanded at this time to produce more Highland whisky. DCL would have been limited in their stocks with Brora having to switch to a more peated style of whisky to cover the renovations at Caol Ila. The Inverness distilleries and their maturing stock, in effect, plugged the gap.





The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) - 1st November 1975


Here's a fascinating article from Don Corrigan, which is an unexpected find. Remember, at the time of publication, Glen Mhor was very much a blending distillery, its single malt presence had been ended officially. 

We meet Angus Mackay, head brewer at Glen Mhor, having worked there for 20 years, he's happy to state 'Glen Mhor is the finest Highland malt whisky made', which is quite an endorsement. We are also told which blends are being supported and what makes Glen Mhor different. Some production details are given, if only we had more, but at least we can be thankful for such an article and insight.






Aberdeen Press & Journal - Wednesday 5th November 1980

'Distillery trio tot up 76 years

...this trio of distillery workers celebrate their retirement from Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn Scottish Malt Distilleries at Inverness. They are (left to right) head warehouseman Mr Kenneth Mckenzie and head maltman Mr William Jack and Mr William Simpson.'




Inverness Courier - 1983

More Job Losses in Inverness
Two Distilleries to Close

'Eleven malt distilleries, two of them in Inverness - Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor, on Telford Street - one in Lochaber (Glenlochy, Fort William) and one in Brora, are to be closed at the end of May by Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd...'





Aberdeen Press & Journal - Thursday 17th February 1983

'Scotch on rocks!

The North distilleries to close at the end of May together with the number of employees to be made redundant are: Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor, Inverness (combined staff 22)...'





Aberdeen Press & Journal - Wednesday 17th July 1985

'At the Glen Mhor Distillery side they propose to set up three retail stores.'




Aberdeen Press & Journal - Wednesday 26th July 1985

'remain convinced that their proposal to develop Glen Mhor Distillery, Muirtown, is viable.'




Aberdeen Press & Journal - Tuesday 6th August 1985

'The Trafford Avenue Residents' Association are leading a campaign to stop Edinburgh development company, John G. Macgregor, from redeveloping the redundant Glen Mhor distillery into a supermarket with associated car park.'




The Northern Scot - Friday 10th January 1986

Congratulations to Glen Mhor's head warehouse operator, Mr D.J. MacDonald, on his award for such long service. Possibly one of the last Glen Mhor employees to receive such an award from Scottish Malt Distillers. You can read our full article.

Comments