The Birnie Distilling Legacy
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.
We'll add the Benrinnes connection to our 'to do list' when the opportunity allows.