Saucel Distillery

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Saucel Distillery, Paisley.
               THIS Distillery is situated in the suburbs of the town of Paisley, and in the parish of Saucel, close by the river Cart, and near to the celebrated abbey, which was founded in the year 1163, by "Walter the Good," the then High Steward of Scotland, who built it for the Benedictines of Wenlock Priory in Shropshire. He richly endowed it, and eventually it became one of the most opulent in Scotland. This fine old abbey is rich in history; the Stewarts made it their burial ground; Robert II, his two wives, Robert III, and other princes were here interred. In the seventeenth century the Abbey was rebuilt, and although the transept and a great part of it is now in ruins, the nave is still used as the parish church, and is said to be the, most magnificent place of worship in Scotland. A hundred years ago this beautiful Abbey with its orchards, gardens, and deer park, was surrounded by a magnificent stone wall, upwards of a mile in circumference, and adorned with fine statues; but In 1781 the Earl of Abercorn sold the stones to build the new town of Paisley, which absorbed the beautiful grounds of the Abbey.

               The Saucel Distillery is a large work and occupies nearly both sides of King Street, Saucel, covering in all eight acres of ground. It was built early in the century, and from time to time important additions have been made to the works, and tablets bearing date of the same are affixed to the various buildings the first is dated 1832, the next 1853, and the third 1857, thus showing in a marked way the progress of the business. At the time of its establishment the Distillery was fortunate in having such a river as the Cart splashing by its walls, and the Espedair Burn running through the works. An old writer describes it as a beautiful impetuous stream flowing direct from the Stanley Braes, through fine scenery, falling into the river Cart, near the Abbey and Distillery. Owing to the close proximity of the dye works, &c., neither of these streams is now used, and Messrs. Stewart & Co., have made a large reservoir high up in the Hawkhead Hills. The water is collected therein from the Oldbar Burn, and conveyed two miles direct into the Distillery. They also have another valuable water supply from an Artesian Well upon the premises, 400 feet deep, which yields water of a good quality for distilling and mashing purposes.

               There are six large Granaries nearly 300 feet long and 56 feet wide, holding in all eight thousand quarters of grain, and eight well ventilated Malt Barns of an average of 150 feet long by 50 feet broad. The six Kilns are of an average each of 40 feet square, and all of them are fitted with the good old fashioned furnaces, where nothing but peat is used. Some of the peats are brought from the Gleniffer Hills in the district, but a large quantity is shipped from Ireland and the Hebrides. All the Kilns are floored with the patent wire cloth flooring. The four Malt Stores, which are nearly 200 feet long by 50 feet broad, adjoin the Kilns, and the Malt is conveyed by Hoppers, of which there are two sets, and three pairs of Mill Stones. From this department it is dropped by sluices into the Tun Room which is 60 feet long, which contains three large Mash Tuns, two of which measure 24 feet in diameter and 6 feet in depth, and the other about half that size; the two former having a capacity of 16,000 gallons, and each fitted with the usual stirring gear. Here also are three heaters and three tanks heated by steam. From the Mash Tuns the worts run into one of the two Underbacks beneath, which are capable of holding 12,000 and 5,000 gallons respectively. It may here be mentioned that the Draff is conveyed by a screw and elevator to the Draff House adjoining the Mash House, and carts can he drawn in and remove the same without any trouble. From the Underbacks the worts are pumped into Coolers away up in the roof of the buildings, and to the three large Miller’s patent Refrigerators. From these it descends to the Washbacks, of which there are twenty, holding from 12,000 to 45,000 gallons respectively. It is then pumped by Centrifugal Pumps into the large Wash Chargers, holding 14,000 and 28,000 gallons respectively. From thence it passes to the intermediate Wash Chargers, one holding 14,000 and the other 45,000 gallons. From these it is pumped into the Stills, of which there are eighteen. The two Still Houses are lofty buildings each 100 feet long, and the Stills which are capable of holding in all 45,000 gallons are mostly of the old Pot kind, and there is besides a Coffey’s Patent Still.

               The Spirit from the Stills passes to the Worm Tubs, and thence through a vast safe and sampling safe to the Low Wines and Feints Receivers, large wooden vessels holding 3,000 and 5,000 gallons respectively. From these it passes to the four Spirit Vats, capable of holding 20,000 gallons, which are situated in the Spirit Store, a large and lofty building measuring 70 feet by 40 feet. Here it is casked, weighed and branded, and taken to the Warehouses, which are eight in number, and containing several thousands of casks. They are mostly 140 feet long by 30 feet broad, and contain Whiskies of various ages. The four principal ones, together with the Excise Offices, are enclosed in a walled-in yard on the opposite side of the Still House. Within this enclosure is also an export bottling and case department, a two decker building 50 feet by 60 feet, wherein the Whisky for export only is labelled under the Trade Marks of the "Lion & Crown" James Stewart & Co. and cased. These Warehouses contain many cases sealed and hearing the Excise Stamp, waiting for shipment.

               In the Engine House there are two forty horse power engines, and eight Boilers, 23 feet long by 8 feet in diameter. Within the works there is an extensive Cooperage for the repair and storage of casks; also a Joiner’s and Engineer Shop, Smithy, and Stabling for six horses.

               The precautions against fire are very complete, every floor having a plentiful supply of water laid on with the necessary hose attached. About one hundred persons are employed in the works.

               The Whisky made is pure Malt and Grain, and is chiefly sold in Scotland, England, Ireland and the Colonies. The annual output of this Distillery is about One Million gallons.

               The Chief Excise Officer is Mr. Mathison, and there are fourteen others besides engaged on the premises.