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TITLE
George Grant on 19th-Century Whisky Boom
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_GEORGEGRANT_03
PLACENAME
Ballindalloch
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
George S. Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1637
KEYWORDS
distillers
distilleries
Coffey Still
Grants of Glenfarclas
audio

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George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about the nineteenth-century whisky boom.

Interviewer: When did the great boom in whisky come about? It must have been somewhere in the late 19th century?

Yes, after the invention of the continuous still by Coffey [Aeneas Coffey, 1780-1852] which was about the middle of the last [19th] century, and that led to cheap grain whisky being made. When I say cheap, I don't mean cheap in quality but cheap in price compared to the cost of malt whisky production. That, of course, led to blending, and of course once blending started, whisky began to be sold worldwide before the end of the last century.

Interviewer: Of course, there was a third factor, wasn't there, in the influence on people's drinking habits? What did they do bef-

Well, of course, there were actually four factors, I would think. The third factor I think you're speaking about was the grapes in France -

Interviewer: Yes

- where they were virtually wiped out by a disease that attacked the root of the grape. And, of course, French wines became almost unobtainable, and brandy and so forth, which certainly helped. And the fourth factor was the fact that Scots people emigrated virtually worldwide and took the taste of Scotch with them.

Interviewer: What did people drink beforehand, then, before this - the introduction of the - before whisky became fashionable?

Well, in Scotland, let's say the ordinary fellow drank the Scotch that either he made or he bought, but the laird and suchlike I think drank claret, imported from France. Whereas in England, the fellow in the street drank cheap gin, and the equivalent of the laird or the nobility would have been drinking French brandy. Remember all the smuggling? Well, you wouldn't remember, neither do I, but we've heard of all the smuggling that took place at the time of the Napoleonic Wars

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George Grant on 19th-Century Whisky Boom

1980s

distillers; distilleries; Coffey Still; Grants of Glenfarclas; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: George Grant, Glenfarclas Distillery

George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about the nineteenth-century whisky boom.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: When did the great boom in whisky come about? It must have been somewhere in the late 19th century?<br /> <br /> Yes, after the invention of the continuous still by Coffey [Aeneas Coffey, 1780-1852] which was about the middle of the last [19th] century, and that led to cheap grain whisky being made. When I say cheap, I don't mean cheap in quality but cheap in price compared to the cost of malt whisky production. That, of course, led to blending, and of course once blending started, whisky began to be sold worldwide before the end of the last century.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Of course, there was a third factor, wasn't there, in the influence on people's drinking habits? What did they do bef- <br /> <br /> Well, of course, there were actually four factors, I would think. The third factor I think you're speaking about was the grapes in France - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes<br /> <br /> - where they were virtually wiped out by a disease that attacked the root of the grape. And, of course, French wines became almost unobtainable, and brandy and so forth, which certainly helped. And the fourth factor was the fact that Scots people emigrated virtually worldwide and took the taste of Scotch with them. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: What did people drink beforehand, then, before this - the introduction of the - before whisky became fashionable?<br /> <br /> Well, in Scotland, let's say the ordinary fellow drank the Scotch that either he made or he bought, but the laird and suchlike I think drank claret, imported from France. Whereas in England, the fellow in the street drank cheap gin, and the equivalent of the laird or the nobility would have been drinking French brandy. Remember all the smuggling? Well, you wouldn't remember, neither do I, but we've heard of all the smuggling that took place at the time of the Napoleonic Wars