Whisky: from bootlegging beginnings to a multi-billion-pound industry

Image: Adobe StockImage: Adobe Stock
Image: Adobe Stock
When the 1823 Excise Act was passed just over 200 years ago, it’s unlikely that many people, if anyone, could have predicted just how globally successful Scotch whisky would become, writes editor Rosemary Gallagher.

At that time, Scotch was an illicit trade with stills hidden in remote places of the country. The Excise Act set a fee for licensing a still and established duty levels.

Over the years, a modern industry emerged and Scotch has become loved at home and internationally, with exports now worth more than £6 billion annually.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Scotsman has decided to mark 200 years of “legal” Scotch, and part of our campaign to celebrate our national drink is this special report looking at its past, present and future.

Our supplement covers topics from sustainability to changing consumer tastes, and gives a flavour of the activity in the vibrant industry.

It also looks at challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, such as a competitive global marketplace for spirits and the need for whisky to continue to diversify and modernise.

Our report includes images from non-profit organisation the OurWhisky Foundation, such as the example pictured above.

The foundation has created a second, festive-themedseries as part of its Modern Face of Whisky stock image library, in collaboration with award-winning photographer Christina Kernohan, which aims to address and improve how female whisky drinkers are represented.

Related topics: