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Our Story

1591

The first reference to Campbeltown whisky is recorded in writing

1601

Campbeltown becomes a whisky smuggling centre and the illegal production of whisky, then also referred to as ‘Uisge Beatha’, Gaelic for 'water of life’ is rife

1660s

The Mitchell family, founders of Springbank, come to Campbeltown as settlers from the lowlands. Some family members were already maltsters

1814

22 legal distilleries are now in operation in the Campbeltown area

1825

Archibald Mitchell becomes partner at Rieclachan Distillery and is later joined by his brother, Hugh

1828

Springbank is built on the site of the previously illicit still used by Archibald Mitchell and Springbank Distillery is officially founded, becoming the 14th licensed distillery in Campbeltown

1834

As demand for Campbeltown malt increases, Archibald’s sister, Mary Mitchell, builds Drumore Distillery

1837

Brothers John and William Mitchell, Archibald’s sons, take ownership of Springbank. Later, John takes his son into the business, forming the company J&A Mitchell

1838

John Walker of Kilmarnock recognises the burgeoning profile of Springbank whisky and purchases 118 gallons

1872

With demand for Campbeltown malts appearing insatiable, John’s brother William continues the family venture into the whisky trade and Glengyle Distillery is founded

1891

Campbeltown, with a then population of just 1,969 was reputed to be the richest town in Britain per capita

1900s

The turn of the century brings a change of whisky preferences and Springbank alter their production accordingly to make lighter whisky that was not as heavily peated, using coal rather than peat to dry malt

1920s

Some of the Campbeltown distilleries begin cutting corners to meet demand for whisky, resulting in blenders turning their back on Campbeltown and looking elsewhere for consistently better malt. One by one, these distilleries begin to close

1925

Suffering from the recession at the beginning of the 20th century, Glengyle Distillery, after being sold by William Mitchell to another company, ceases trading

1934

Rieclachan closes its doors, leaving only Springbank and Glen Scotia operating in the Campbeltown area

1970

Springbank bottles a 50-year-old whisky, distilled in 1919

1973

Longrow whisky is distilled at Springbank, proving that an Islay-style single malt could be produced on the mainland

1980s

Another general downturn in the whisky business sees a wave of distilleries close across Scotland. Springbank continues to sell whisky, though production is sporadic at best

1989

Regular production resumes at Springbank as demand for whisky begins to grow

1990s

Springbank Single Malt’s reputation takes off around the world. A spate of top quality bottlings are released which cement the distillery’s reputation for producing world-class whisky

1997

Springbank Distillery’s newest whisky, Hazelburn, is first distilled

2000

Hedley G. Wright, the current Chairman of Springbank and great-great grandson of Archibald Mitchell, buys the Glengyle Distillery buildings, bringing Glengyle back into the hands of the Mitchell family line

2004

The rebuilt Glengyle Distillery, the first new distillery in Campbeltown in over 100 years and the first distillery built in Scotland in the 21st Century, has its first distillation run. Campbeltown is once again recognised as a distinct whisky region

2008

In the wake of rising stocks and soaring production costs, the distillery takes a six-month break from production to allow new warehousing to be built, with the whisky-making process resuming in 2009

2013

Springbank sells a bottle of the 1919 50-year-old for £50,000 to a Chinese whisky collector

2014

Today, Springbank is one of only three distilleries operating in the Campbeltown area and is the oldest independent family-owned distillery in Scotland. Learn about the place where our story began