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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Dumbarton Grain Whisky

Distillery 1938 - 2002

Dumbarton Distillery Castle Street, Dumbarton.  

Current Owners Allied Distillers

Location Lowlands

Water source unknown


Dumbarton Distillery History  


There have been two distilleries by the name Dumbarton Distillery; a small lowland distillery founded in 1817 the other one is the large Grain distillery built by Hiram Walker in 1938 Two years after they had acquired George Ballantine & Co. of Dumbarton in 1936


The Distillery was built on the site of McMillan Shipyard on Castle Street, Dumbarton. At some point in its development It was one of the largest distilleries in Scotland


Between 1938-1991 the Inverleven Malt whisky Distillery was located on the premises,


The Dumbarton distillery is known to have used a rather unorthodox security system, "The Scotch Watch", to protect the premises. It was formed in 1959 by Tom Scott and commanded by a gander called Mr Ballantine. Originally it consisted of five geese plus a gander.   By 2001 the flock had grown to about 100 birds.


In 1988 Allied Brewers acquired Hiram Walkers. From which Allied Distillers was created shortly afterwards.


In 2001 Dumbarton had an annual production on 25 million gallons whisky. and was the major contributor to Ballantine’s blends.


By 2002 Dumbarton had become a very old-fashioned distillery since no major reconstructions had been made to the site since it was built in the 1930's.


The distillery was very difficult to upgrade because the tall column stills went up through the concrete floors, thus making the structure of the building very difficult to alter. So Allied distillers moved production to the Strathclyde Distillery,


Allied Distillers have made a £6,000,000 investment in the Strathclyde Distillery to raise production by 25% to 40 million litres of alcohol per year.


The Dumbarton grain distillery was closed and mothballed in 2002, with no plans to take up production in the future


The site is currently being dismantled and the buildings demolished. Reconstruction of the site includes plans by architects to build housing.


Dumbarton Distillery Bottlings  

No official bottling


Dumbarton Distillery Independent Bottlings  



Celtic Heartlands

Clan Denny

Duncan Taylor,