BenRiach Whisky Distillery

BenRiach Whisky Distillery & Story

BenRiach Whisky Distillery resides deep within the Speyside region in the Scottish Highlands, Next Door to the Longmorn Whisky Distillery.

BenRiach (ben-REE-ach), Gaelic for the hill of the red deer. The distillery is named after Riach farm.

The distillery after being mothballed for over 65 years returned to distilling in 1965. with just one season in 2003 mothballed.

BenRiach whisky distillery have been distilling peated and non peated spirit ever since.

Maturing whiskies in several styles; Light and Delicate,  peated smokey and or  finishing in wine and sherry casks for a richly sherry single malt

How the BenRiach story began

The BenRiach Whisky Distillery was built by John Duff in 1898 next door to the already established Longmorn Distillery (1894). Indeed, locally BenRiach was sometimes referred to as ‘Longmorn 2’.

However, the timing of the opening proves to be unfortunate, preceding the ‘Pattison Crash’ of 1900 by just a few months.

This caused widespread distillery closures and BenRiach is mothballed after just two years of production.

The distillery remains closed until 1965, however BenRiach’s floor maltings remain in constant production during this period, providing malted barley for the fully operational Longmorn Distillery

BenRiach is re-opened by Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, in 1965 having been almost totally rebuilt, and production re-convenes.

During 1972 in addition to the regular distillation, a production of peated malt whisky commences. This move is a response to the increasing cost of Islay whisky due to a general industry shortage.

With no Islay distillery in their portfolio, and with smokey peated malt a key component in Seagram’s key blended whisky brands, the firm decided to produce their own peated Speyside, at BenRiach.

Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, and the various distilleries under their ownership, including BenRiach and Longmorn, is purchased by Canadian whisky firm Seagrams in 1978.

As production steps up, BenRiach is expanded from two stills to four in 1985.

In 1994 BenRiach is released for the first time as a single malt brand in its own right. The whisky is bottled at 10 years old / 43%, and is included as part of Seagram’s ‘Heritage Collection’ along with Strahisla (12YO), Glenkeith (1983) and Longmorn (15YO).

The BenRiach floor maltings are closed in 1999 after 101 years of uninterrupted operation. The maltings remain in good working order, and could be re-activated almost immediately.

2001 Seagrams are acquired by French firm Pernod Ricard Four distilleries in the group move to rotational production, distilling for just 3 months of the year; BenRiach, Allt a’Bhainne, Braeval and Caperdonich. These four distilleries are subsequently mothballed in August of 2002.

The BenRiach Whisky Distillery

2004 New Owners

In April 2004 BenRiach was acquired by an independent consortium, headed by Scotch Whisky industry veteran Billy Walker, and production re-convenes immediately, meaning the inventory is almost uninterrupted.

On the 7th of August 2004 the first bottling of BenRiach under the new owners takes place; BenRiach ‘Heart of Speyside’, 12year, 16year and 20 year-olds, and the peated 10 years old are all bottled for the first time.

On the 20th of September 2004 the first distillation under the new owners is filled to cask  #96 ‘green’ (i.e. first-fill bourbon) barrels are filled, numbered 1 to 96, and are immediately transferred to the BenRiach warehouses for maturation, not to see the light of day for at least 12 years.

During 2008 the Benriach distillery buys the GlenDronach distillery from Pernod Ricard.

Scaent Group sells the Glenglassaugh distillery to Benriach in 2013.

Summer 2016

Billy Walker and partners will collect as much as £285million following the sale of their Benriach Distillery Company to US drinks giant Brown-Forman. which owns bourbon brands including Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels.

The deal includes the firm’s three single malt brands – The BenRiach – The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh – as well as a bottling plant in Newbridge and the company’s HQ in Edinburgh.

Mr Walker and his two partners built up the organisation over the last 12 years after acquiring the mothballed BenRiach Distillery on the outskirts of Elgin from Chivas Brothers for £5million.

Mr Walker along with South African investors Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter, who own equal shares in the business, then went on to added the Huntly-based GlenDronach distillery and the Glenglassaugh distillery in Portsoy to their portfolio.

Kentucky-based Brown-Forman, said the deal would allow it them to return to the single malt market after it sold its stake in Glenmorangie to Moet Hennessy in 2005.

BenRiach Whisky Distillery Equipment.

Founded in 1898 by the John Duff.

Location; Speyside region. Lossie district.

Water source; Burnside springs.

BenRiach Whisky Distillery Equipment.

Stainless steel encased cast iron mash tun.

8 Stainless steel washbacks. Fermenting time of between 48-66 hours.

2 wash stills, 2 spirit stills.

Matured in American oak bourbon barrels and European sherry-wine casks.

The core “Speyside” range includes Heart of Speyside (no age), 10 year, 16 year, 20 year olds.

Are light and delicate malt whiskys.

The smokey peaty style includes; Birnie Moss and Curiositas 10 year old peated whisky.

Both the peated and non peated single malt whiskies are finished in differing types of cask finish ie; Dark rum, Sherry, Madeira.

Making them rich and fruity whisky in style.

The distillery also supplies the malt whisky for the Magnum Cream Liqueur.

BenRiach Whisky Distillery Logo
BenRiach Whisky Distillery Ariel

Our Top 3 BenRiach Malt Whiskies

BenRiach Whisky Distillery Tour.

The BenRiach distillery in not generaly open to the public. However they do offer a connoisseurs tour.  On certain days for a minimum of four people. Including an after tour tasting where you can sample some of the drams they have to offer.

MUST BE PRE-BOOKED

Please contact the BenRiach Distillery for details and to book.

Click here for more information on the BenRiach tour

BenRiach Whisky Distillery Stills
BenRiach Whisky Distillery Dunnage

Our BenRiach Whisky Range - In stock and available to buy.