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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

John Dewar & Sons

Dewar's Scotch Whisky

Dewar's Blended Scotch Whisky

Principle Brands

Dewar’s White Label

Dewar’s 18 year old

Dewar’s Signature.


John Dewar & Sons History

John Dewar was born in 1805 the son of  a crofter on a small farm “Shenaval” in the heart of Scotland. He serves an apprenticeship as a Joiner and goes into business with his brother in the village of Aberfeldy


At the age of 23 (1828) John Dewar leaves the joinery trade to work for his Uncle Alex MacDonald in his wine business located in Perth.


By 1837 John had become a partner and the firm has been renamed MacDonald & Dewar.


At some point in 1846 the partnership of MacDonald & Dewar is dissolved and John Dewar starts his own Wine and Spirit merchants in Perth High Street. As an early pioneer of blended whisky he is amongst the first to market his whisky in glass bottles with his own name proudly on the label.


The first traveller is employed, in 1860, to expand the business beyond Perth and quickly finds hotels and public houses willing to stock his quality Scotch whisky


In 1871 the first of John Dewar’s sons John Alexander joins the firm becoming a partner in 1879.

The following year John Dewar Senior passes away leaving the business to John A.


During 1884 John A’s   brother Tommy arrives in the business, as a twenty year old he lacks experience, however he makes up for it with enthusiasm.


The following year Tommy arrives in London to establish trade in the English capital. He has been given two contacts to seek, however one is dead and the other bankrupt.

Undeterred by this set back Tommy manages to create a substantial demand for DEWAR’S whisky through hard work and invent-fullness.. This includes the use of pipers at the 1886 Brewer Show to play as loud and as long as possible to draw attention to his stand.


DEWAR’S Scotch whisky is awarded its first medal at the 1886 Edinburgh Exhibition, The first of over 80 awards given to the firm. In the same year Tommy becomes a partner with his brother John A.


During 1891, Andrew Carnegie, a USA steel magnate of Scottish decent, orders a small barrel of DEWAR’S to be presented to President Benjamin Harrison. The US press is livid and attacks Harrison for not supporting home produced whiskey.


Tommy thrives on the publicity “ it was the best advertisement I ever had and certainly the cheapest… inquiries and orders flowed from all parts of the Sates.”


Having secured the English market, in 1892 Tommy sets off on a 2 year one man sales mission to 26 countries and successfully appoints 32 agents worldwide.


The first Royal Warrant is received from Queen Victoria in 1893 the start of a constant line of Warrants from every British Monarch through to and including Queen Elizabeth II


On his return in 1894 publicity seeking Tommy publishes His “A Ramble Round the Globe” a collection of amusing social observations and anecdotes for the many curious people about his trip.


Dewar’s open offices in New York and Dublin in 1897 and Tommy buys his first car A chain drive Benz , it is only the third car in the UK after the Prince of Wales and Sir Thomas Upton.


The following year the first ever film advert for a drink is made, Commissioned by Tommy and produced by the Edison Company. Images of Dewar’s Scotch whisky and dancing Scotsman are projected on to a building in New York’s Herald Square, Home of Macy’s Department store


Meanwhile the ever-pragmatic John A is overseeing the paperwork and logistics side of the business. To meet the growing demand the company must be able to secure a supply of quality Highland Malt whisky. To meet this requirement Aberfeldy, a model distillery designed from the ground up, is built and opens in 1898.


DEWAR’S White label Scotch whisky is released in 1899. Created by A J Cameron the first master blender at DEWAR’S His dedication to quality and consistency is behind the perfectly balanced taste and the promise “it never varies”


By 1906 overseas offices had been opened in Calcutta, Sydney and Melbourne.


During 1915 DERWAR join with Buchanan’s to strengthen mutual interests and avoid competition.


Due to barley shortages Aberfeldy distillery remains closed during the 1917-1919 distilling seasons.


DEWAR’S purchase distilleries at Aultmore, Ord, Parkmore and Pulteney to maintain supplies of single malt whiskies for their blends in 1923.


During 1925 DEWAR’S Buchanan and Johnnie Walker combine with the Distillers Company Ltd with John A’s son John Dewar taking a principal role.  


John A Dewar Lord Fortevoit passes away in 1929 leaving over £4.5 million the following year Thomas Lord Dewar follows leaving £5 million.


Due to barley shortages Aberfeldy distillery remains closed during the 1942-1944 distilling seasons


DEWARS Centenary is reached in 1946


DEWAR’S Ancestor 12-year-old blend is released to replace the Victoria Vat as the deluxe 1954


New production facilities are opened at Invermoral Perth in 1955


Aberfeldy distillery is expanded in 1972


In 1986 DEWAR’S White Label Blend becomes the number 1 seller for Scotch Blended whisky in the USA.


The 150th Anniversary of DEWAR’S is reached in 1996


Aberfeldy 12 year old is released as a single malt in 1999


DEWAR’S World of Whisky visitor centre is opened in 2000, showcasing the company’s heritage.

The DEWAR’S 12 year old is launched in the USA and Duty Free-markets.

New bottling plant is opened in Glasgow capable of filling 470 per minute.


DEWAR’S Signature deluxe blend released into the USA in 2003


2005 marked the 200th anniversary of John Dewar The Company releases a full portfolio of DEWAR’S

Including White Label – DEWAR’S - 12 –18 – and Signature Plus the Blended Malt DEWAR’S 15 along side the Aberfeldy single malts at 12 and 21 years.


DEWAR’S whiskies win 19 awards at competitive tastings, Including Gold for the DEWAR’S 18 at the Whisky Magazine “Best of The Best” and a Gold For best in class for the Aberfeldy 12 year old/


This success if followed up in 2006 with a total of 28 awards at worldwide competitions. DEWAR’S Signature receives 3 Gold’s, Best in Class and Grand Gold along side Aberfeldy 12 and 21 year olds receive Grand Gold.

Dewar's Whisky Dewar's Whisky


World of Whisky

Aberfeldy Distillery



PH15 2EB



Tel No. 01887 - 822010


Visitor Centre


World of Whisky

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