Bladnoch Distillery

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Pronunciation ’bladnoch
Translation Named after River Bladnoch
Region Lowlands
Distiller Raymond Armstrong
Owner Raymond Armstrong
Address Bladnoch
Telephone +44 (0)1988 - 40 22 35 (Distillery)
+44 (0)1988 - 40 26 05 (Visitor Centre)
LatLong 54° 51’ 31” N   04° 27’ 41” W
Grid Reference NX421543
Open to public Shop open : mo-fr 09:00 - 17:00
Bank Holiday weekends : sa 11:00 - 17:00, su 12:00 - 17:00
All weekends in July & August : sa 11:00 - 17:00, su 12:00 - 17:00
Guided tours are available throughout the daySource : website 2007

Established by John and Thomas McClelland, two brothers (1814 mentioned as well)
Thomas McClelland (also McLelland)
License obtained
John and Thomas McLelland
John McLelland & Co.
John and Thomas McLelland
J.T. & A. McLelland
Thomas and Andrew McLelland, when reconstructed as T. & A. McClelland & Co.
T. & A. McClelland & Co.
Distillery is refurbished by Charlie McLelland, son of John McLelland
Production stopped
The Irish company Dunville & Co. paid £10,775 to get T. & A. McLelland Ltd. Production has it’s ups and downs until 1936
At a meeting of Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd. :
"The action of the Managing Director in entering into the purchase and financing of T. & A. McClelland Ltd. was approved."


* Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd. of Royal Irish Distilleries Belfast.
* Dunville & Co. Ltd Wine & Spirit Merchants. of 25 Arthur Street Belfast.

Previous shareholders were Thomas McClelland, St. Annes Mount Aigburth Liverpool whose share went to Dunville & Co. and Charles McClelland, Fordbank House Bladnoch whose share went to Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd.

Company directors of T & A McClelland Ltd. Henry Cooke Craig "Cairndunna", Belmont Church Road, Belfast. Hugh Littlewood Garrett, St Valentines, Holywood. Co. Down. John Claude Brownrigg 25, Arthur Street. Belfast.

Resolved that the following report be presented to the shareholders of the Company (Dunvilles) Your directors beg to present Statement of the Company's Accounts.

"Messer’s Dunville & Co. Ltd. (Wine & Spirit Merchants) complain that they experience a difficulty in selling Scotch whisky as their customers know they have not a distillery in Scotland. As your company (Wm Dunville & Co. Ltd. Distillers) cannot supply this from the Royal Irish Distilleries they have started a Limited Company under the name of T & A McClelland Ltd. which has bought a distillery belonging to T & A McClelland & Co. Your firm holds nearly all the shares in T & A McClelland Ltd. This will enable us to supply the want experienced by Dunville & Co. Ltd. The Bladnoch Distillery itself has not been worked for about 6 years. It was in the McClelland family since 1818 and must be one of the oldest in Scotland. The main buildings and warehouses are good and substantial but the plant was obsolete and is being entirely renewed partly by new and partly by purchase of plant from Distilleries in the Highlands that have failed and it is expected to be ready to start early in the new year. It is impossible in the present rather chaotic state the place is in, to arrive at any estimate as to what the cost of the new plant will be but the amount paid to McClelland was £1,200 subject to a rent of £10 per annum and a further rent of £15 per annum for water rights which can be dropped at any time."

The company accounts show considerable expenditure on plant and equipment acquired both in Scotland, Belfast and Dublin and refer to the acquisition of a mash tun and weigh bridge in March 1912 from Bluromach Distillery (details of location of this distillery if known would be appreciated).

Company Accounts include details of:
Oil, Tallows & Grease account
Rent & Rates Account
Horse keeping account
Yeast Account
Coal & Peat Account
Malt Cummins Account
Barley Account
Whisky & Feints Account
At a meeting of the directors of Wm. Dunville & Co. Ltd.

"With regard to the item of £10755.5s.4d in balance sheet representing Bladnoch Distillery T & A McClelland Ltd. The expenditure required is now practically completed with the exception of an Excise Office and small warehouse which have been delayed by the board of Customs & Excise. The distillery worked for a few weeks to test everything and it was found to work satisfactorily. Work will be resumed for the winter at the beginning of next month."
At a directors meeting held in 25 Arthur Street, Belfast, Ireland

There were present H.C.Craig (chairman) H. Garrett and J.C. Brownrigg. Your directors beg to present Balance Sheet & Profit and Loss Account. From these you will see that the profits for the year amount to £939.4s.1d.

"Owing to the war and difficulties of labour the upkeep of the place has fallen behind and as soon as things return to normal further sums will be required for repairs to roofs etc. those on the warehouses and mash house being in a bad state."
"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account...

...It was reported that the seal of the company had been affixed on 10th July 1916 to Excise removal Bond for transfer of whisky from Bladnoch to Belfast and on 4th August 1916 to Excise removal Bond for another shipment from Bladnoch to Belfast. "It has been impossible owing to the war to keep the place in the state of efficiency your directors would like: nothing was done to the mash house and warehouse roofs during the past year and the cart shed roof fell in and it was decided to rebuild this and use it as a stable and cart shed combined - this work is in progress. The old stable with some alterations will be available as coopers and cask store."
"Your directors beg to present Balance Sheet & Profit and Loss Account...

...From these you will see the years trading resulted in a loss of £367.14s.6d. Owing to the continuance of the Order under the Defence of the Realm Act prohibiting distilling. Owing to the stoppage we appealed against our valuation and got it reduced."
"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account...

...From this you will see the years trading resulted in a loss of £326.1s.6d. as the prohibition of distilling was raised too late to allow of many weeks working and it was thought that the old custom of selling the spirits ex store should be abandoned for the present and a stock accumulated. This means for about three years there is not much chance of profit. Practically nothing in way of repairs was done during the year. Great difficulty was found in starting the distillery from want not so much of men as want of houses for them to live in. The land lord the Earl of Galloway offering part of his estate for sale the opportunity was taken to purchase the farm of Cotland adjoining the distillery with the double object of getting ground for labourers cottages and building warehouses and protecting our interest in the lade or mill race which might have been prejudiced if the farm was bought by an outsider. £5321.14s.8d was paid for the farm and at the same time we offered to buy the head rent of the distillery at twenty years purchase which was acceptable the cost being £516.11s.8d."
"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account for the year ending April 30th 1920...

...From this you will observe that the years trading resulted in a loss of £675.7s.5d. The cause of this is the increased costs of everything but chiefly in wages. Owing to the war the lade has had little or no attention paid to it. It was thoroughly cleaned out and would have cost a good deal more except for the fact that the Cooperative society sent men to assist free of cost in order to get water for their cooling process more quickly. A second sluice gate was put in which has been extremely useful, as the Steam Engine held in reserve was not so often called on . Great complaints were made by the manager of the difficulty of getting men owing to the shortage of houses. To remedy this we rented a house in Wigtown and purchased outright 4 small cottages in Bladnoch at a cost of £407.0s.0d These unfortunately turned out not to be of much assistance as tenants refused to leave from three of them and your directors hesitated to put the law in force and put them out as they could get no fresh houses and two of the tenants had been in possession for 20 - 30 years. The cottages though small will in time be of assistance As early in the war all the whisky was sold there is only new whisky in the warehouses. This cannot be used till it is 3 years old and your Directors think it the best policy to hold on to it."
Sales 3053.6 gallons @.9s.6d £1,450.9s.1d
Stock whisky £33757.19s.6d
Feints £31.3s.0d
Sales 15750.2 gallons £7174.7s.5d
Stock whisky £37108.7s.3d
Sales 54702.39 gallons
Stock whisky £32556.15s.9d
Feints £32.6s.0d

"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account for the year ending 30th April 1923...

...You will see years trading resulted in a profit of £2734.10s.8d. As alluded to in last report all the whisky was removed from the large warehouse and roof made good the cost of this about £1000.0s.0d.The mash roof is in very bad condition and will require to be repaired before the place is started again. The investment in Cotland Farm £5359.4s.8d has been a disastrous one owing to our own ignorance of Scotch Land Laws instead of returning 5% it only returned about 1%."
Annual General Meeting for year ended 30/4/24

Sales £30.17s.4d (Dunvilles not buying)
Stock whisky £32527.17s.2d
Feints £32.6s.0d

"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account...

...From this you will see that the years trading resulted in a loss of £1818.3s.3d. As the distillery did not work during the year and Dunville & Co. Ltd. did not require any of the stock of whisky a loss was expected. In Winter there is a fair supply of water running to waste and the use of this by gravity would save a good deal of pumping and so save coal. During autumn there were heavy floods there being 18" to 2’ feet in the warehouses. This is the third time this has happened since we took it over. Mr Christie (manager) reported that there was some discussion as to (local authority) holding us liable the water floods the road and back of the village."
Annual General Meeting for year ended 30th April 1925

Sales whisky 55855.7 gallons £14416.0s.11d
Feints 609.1 gallons £418.15s.1d
Stock whisky £31837.7s.9d
Feints £48.15s.0d

"Your Directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account...

...The distillery was at work during the season but price allowed by Dunville & Co. Ltd. and the heavy repairs and high price of grain precluded any idea of profit. The mash house roof became so dangerous that it had to be entirely renewed at a cost of about £594.0s.0d and the old steam engine was replaced by a more powerful and up to date oil engine at a cost of £663. The fermentation was rather unsteady and it is questionable if new wash backs should not be put in but owing to the large water tank forming the roof of the Tun Room which always keeps it in a state of cold and wet it is doubtful if Iron Backs would do. Wooden ones would not last long."
Annual General Meeting for year end April 1926

did not distil
Sales 57901.7 gallons £19162.4s.1d
Stock whisky £14347.11s.0d
Feints £48.15s.0d
Annual General Meeting for year ended 30/4/27

did not distil
Sales 20111.9 gallons £4719.0s.3d
Stock whisky £10196.7s.10d
Feints £48.15s.0d
"Your directors beg to present Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Account for years trading ended 30/4/1928...

(No distilling took place during this year)
Stock whisky £10196.7s.10d
Feints £48.15s.0d

...There was no special outlay other than that caused by storm to roofs but there is always a heavy depreciation going on in a Silent Distillery, which is impossible to stop especially in timber vessels etc., and the distillery lying so low is excessively damp. Owing to the company being a private one it is perhaps not necessary to go into the accounts as if it were a public one but your directors think it right to place on record that the accounts are in such a state that if wound up they could not meet their liabilities."
Annual General Meeting for year ended 30th April 1929

Distillery not working
Sales 18246.1 gallons £4561.10s.6d
Stock whisky £6426.15s.2d
Feints £48.15s.0d
Annual General Meeting

whisky was distilled during the year but having regard to the slump in trade of the Country your Directors have decided not to work the distillery during the coming season.
Annual General Meeting

The distillery was not working during the past season nor is it proposed to commence distillery operations next season.
Annual General Meeting

not distilling and not proposing to distil.
Annual General Meeting

Not distilling and not proposing to distil
Annual General Meeting

Not distilling and not proposing to distil
Annual General Meeting

"Your Directors regret to report that the local authorities have condemned the byres and outbuildings of Cotland Farm as unsuitable for a dairy farm by reason of the fact that they do not comply with the requirements of the Scotland Dairying Act. To put them in order would entail heavy expenditure. As the lease of Cotland Farm expires in 1937 your directors were able to arrange with the authorities that the company be relieved from making this expenditure during the term of the present lease on condition that Cotland Farm be advertised for sale before 1st October 1936."
Annual General Meeting

"Your directors have continued their policy of economising in every possible direction but owing to the fact that a considerable proportion of the stocks lying in the distillery warehouses has been sold and removed there is a slight increase in the expense in running your business during the year under review."
Dunville & Co. is liquidated and the distillery is closed (1938 mentioned as well)
Annual General Meeting

The following special resolution was unanimously adopted.

"That the company be wound up voluntarily"
Distillery closed and equipment sold to Sweden (latter mentioned as > WWII as well)
The company was owned by Dunville & Co. Ltd., Dublin
Shortly after WWII
Distillery purchased by Coulter & Ross, whisky brokers from Glasgow, who sold it to A.B. Grant. Mentioned that the equipment is dismantled and shipped to Sweden as well (see 1938)
Revived by A.B. Grant (Bladnoch Distillery Ltd.)
Bladnoch Distillery Ltd. acquired by Ian Fisher, chairman of McGown & Cameron, blenders from Glasgow
Extended from two to four stills
Purchased by Inver House Distillers Ltd., subsidiary of Publicker Industries Ltd., USA
Purchased by Arthur Bell & Sons plc
Arthur Bell & Sons plc is bought by Guiness Group
A visitor centre is built
Guiness Group is bought by United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV)
Licensed to United Malt & Grain Distillers Ltd. (UMGD)
Distillery mothballed, taken over by the local authority and converted to heritage centre
Bought by Raymond Armstrong to convert the distillery into holiday homes. Restoring took two years. An agreement with United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV) limites production to 250,000 bottles per year
Production resumed

Technical Specifications
General Water Source
for production and cooling from the River Bladnoch. Piped from the upper course to prevent pollution
  Annual Output
  Finished Spirit (phenols)
  Blending Roles
Malt Malt Source
  Malt Type
  Malt Specification (phenols)
  Own Malting Floor
  Malt Storage
  Grist Storage
Mashing Mash Tun
  Mash Size
  First Water
  Second Water
  Third Water
  Fourth Water
Fermentation Washbacks 6 made of Oregon Pine
  Washback Charge
  Amount of Yeast
  Length of Fermentation
  Initial Fermentation Temp.
  Strength of Wash
Distillation Wash Stills 1
  Wash Still Built
  Wash Still Charge
  Heat Source steamheated
  Wash Still Height
  Lyne Arm
  Low Wines Run
  Low Wines Collection Range
  Spirit Stills
  Spirit Still Built
  Spirit Still Charge
  Strength of Spirit Still Charge
  Heat Source steamheated
  Spirit Still Height
  Lyne Arm
  Foreshot Run
  Spirit Run
  Feints Run
  Spirit Cut
  Distilling Strength
Storage Storage Strength
  Average Spirit Yield
  Disposal of Pot Ale/Spent Lees
  Type of Casks only refills used <1993
  Vatting and Bottling Location

Sources used