The BenRiach Distillery Co was formed in 2004 when former Burn Stewart Distillers operations director Billy Walker teamed up with South Africa-based business partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter to purchase the mothballed Benriach distillery near Elgin from Chivas Brothers.
The distillery re-opened the following year, and in 2008 a second distillery was acquired from Chivas Brothers in the shape of GlenDronach, near Huntly. While Benriach dated from 1897 and the late Victorian whisky ‘boom,’ Glendronach had been established in 1826. With its trademark sherry cask-influence, Glendronach offered a good stylistic contrast to the classic Speyside Benriach.
BenRiach’s most recent acquisition was Glenglassaugh distillery, at Portsoy, on the Moray Firth coast. Glenglassaugh had been established in 1873, but reconstructed during the late 1950s, before falling silent in 1986. By the time BenRiach came along in 2013 the distillery had already been restored to working order by a group of private investors, who had purchased it during 2008. BenRiach’s takeover provided enough capital to increase production and set about offering a wider range of releases.
BenRiach Distillery Company – as well as Glenglassaugh and Glendronach – was picked up by Brown-Forman, the Louisville, Kentucky-based producer of Jack Daniel’s, in 2016 for £281 million.