History of Royal Lochnagar Distillery

1845

John Begg is granted a long lease of the Lochnagar site by Abergeldie Estates, and starts distilling on the south bank of the Dee. Another distillery nearby was already called Lochnagar, and so Begg's distillery was called New Lochnagar as a result.

1848

Queen Victoria acquires Balmoral, and Begg invites Prince Albert to visit with Queen Victoria and their children. Begg receives a Royal Warrant as supplier to the Queen. Queen Victoria enjoys the malt and drank it with claret!

1850-79

The fine ROYAL LOCHNAGAR, as the brand now came to be known, commands a high price, and demand grows. The distillery is enlarged and warehouses and offices are acquired in Aberdeen.

1880

Begg dies, leaving his only son, Henry Farquharson Begg, with a large trade in blended and bottled whisky both at home and abroad. Henry appoints a manager to look after his interests.

1887

Alfred Barnard visits the distillery and describes it in his book The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. He puts annual production at 65,000 gallons.

1896

Henry Farquharson Begg dies, having created a trust of the business in which each of his children benefits equally.

1902

The distillery is converted into a private limited liability company, John Begg Ltd, after it becomes apparent that the business is too complex to be operated as a trust.

1906

Lochnagar distillery is rebuilt and re-equipped, and the blending and bottling operation is transferred to Glasgow, since Aberdeen lacks adequate facilities for the direct shipment of export orders.

1916-1919

Distillery acquired by John Dewar and Sons Ltd. Royal Lochnagar, in common with other distilleries, is closed during the latter stages of the First World War in order to save barley for use in food production.

1925

John Dewar & Sons Ltd joins Distillers Company Limited.

1939-46

The distillery is closed again for the duration of the second world war, for the same reason as before: conserving barley for food.

1949-1951

A generator was installed, replacing the paraffin lamps and gas carbine flame which had previously lit the distillery. The distillery is connected to the national power grid.

1963

The distillery is re-equipped, and the water wheels and steam engine which had until now powered all the machinery are replaced by electrical equipment. Of the 1906 structure, the malt-barn and kiln remain.

1969

The mash house is rebuilt and the stills are converted to internal heating by steam.

1987

The farm steading was converted into a Distillery Visitor Centre.

1998

The Visitor Centre was refurbished to form a shop which became the Home of Diageo Malts portfolio. A variety of rare and unusual whiskies are to be found there.

Today

The distillery still retains many of the traditional techniques handed down through generations. The distillery employs only six people in the production process and six people in the Visitor Centre.

To find out more, please visit our distillery.

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