Production of alcohol at Morangie Farm is dated 1703. In the 1730s a brewery was built on the site that shared the farm's water source, the Tarlogie Spring. A former distillery manager, William Matheson, acquired the farm in 1843 and converted the Morangie brewery to a distillery, equipped with two-second hand gin stills. He later renamed the distillery Glenmorangie.
Glenmorangie Distillery was purchased by its main customer, the Leith firm Macdonald and Muir, in 1918.The Macdonald family would retain control of the company for almost 90 years.
Glenmorangie, like all distilleries and breweries in Britain, suffered terribly between 1920 and 1950, with Prohibition and then the Great Depression in the United States reducing whisky sales. The distillery was effectively mothballed between 1931 and 1936. When the depression ended with World War II, the war effort left fuel and barley in short supply and the distillery was again mothballed between 1941 and 1944.
Towards the end of the war and in the immediate post-war period, the distillery increased production and was running at full capacity by 1948. In 1997 the number of stills was increased from two to four. Then water supply became a concern during the 1980s when development of the land around the Tarlogie Springs seemed likely. Development could have reduced the quality and quantity of water available to the distillery, so the decision was made to purchase around 600 acres of land around and including the Tarlogie Springs. The distillery once again engaged in expansion during 1990 when it added a further four stills, and two additional fermentation vessels (or washbacks) were added during 2002. Four new stills were added in 2009, bringing the total to twelve.
In 2004, the company was sold to the French drinks company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for around £300 million. Following the change of ownership, the Glenmorangie product line was rebranded to increase its appeal in the overseas luxury goods market. A new, more curvaceous, bottle was introduced and the Wood Finish whiskies were given new names such as The Quinta Ruban, Nectar d'Or and LaSanta.
Dr. Bill Lumsdon - Glenmorangie's Master of Wood
The giraffe has long been Glenmorangie's spirit animal. After all, this majestic animal is the same height as their towering stills. But although the giraffe is known and loved at Glenmorangie and across the world, few are aware of the threat it faces in the wild. Numbers have fallen by 30% in just 30 years – and some types of giraffe are now critically endangered.
Knowing how urgently the giraffe needs help, Glenmorangie has pioneered a conservation partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation charity, which aims to secure a future for all wild giraffe populations in Africa. Find out more at https://giraffeconservation.org/
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