George Smith, founder of The Glenlivet Distillery, came from a long line of illicit distillers. In 1817 Smith inherited leased land at Upper Drumin Farm where he continued the family tradition to supplement his crofter’s wage. Smith was the first to incorporate his distilling operation after the Excise Act of 1823 was pushed through Parliament, championed by the Duke of Gordon - Smith's landlord. The duke not only persuaded Smith to take out the first license in the parish of Glenlivet but he also contributed to the distillery build at Drumin.
Thanks to their vision – and that of George’s son, John Gordon Smith – the distillery would produce a spirit that defined Speyside whisky. Because of the quality, success, and respect attained, several distilleries in the region appended the name Glenlivet to their own. This led to a landmark decision in 1884 that stipulated in law that only Smith’s single malt could call itself ‘The Glenlivet’ (photo courtesy of John Paul Photography).