Clydesdale

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Clydesdale Distillery, Wishaw, Lanarkshire.

THIS Distillery is situated in the valley of the Clyde, six miles from the celebrated falls, in the neighbourhood of beautiful scenery; it races the Wishaw House policies, which come up almost to the very gate-way. The banks of the Clyde are very charming, whilst the woods, orchards and fruit gardens combine to give this district the well-known designation of the “Garden of Scotland.” The water used in this Distillery comes from the Cambusnethan peat-moss, a natural burn in the hills, where wild flowers and heather grow in rich profusion. This burn has been diverted from its course and is brought by a stone conduit through the grounds of Coltness (the property of James Houldsworth, Esq.) direct into the works. Peat of excellent quality is dug from the Greenhead moss in the neighbourhood, so that the firm do not need to import any.

The Distillery is solidly built in the form of a square, and was founded in the year 1825; it covers five acres of ground, is about fourteen miles from Glasgow, on the Caledonian Railway, and a quarter of a mile from the Railway Station. The works, which cost Lord Belhaven nearly ninety thousand pounds, were leased to Patrick Chalmers (brother to the celebrated Dr. Chalmers) who was the originator of the “Cask Brand P. Chalmers.” The establishment was afterwards purchased by the senior partner of the present firm, and as the business increased additions and improvements have continually been made.

The following are a few particulars of the establishment. There are four large Granaries at the top of the building and eight malting floors, four of the latter are 125 by 44 feet, and the other four 85 by 30 feet with Steeps of a proportionate size. The malt is hoisted by machinery to the large Kilns where it is dried by Peat; two of these Kilns are 44 feet square, the other 35 feet square, floored with perforated iron plates, and with the new improved sheet iron furnaces which cause a saving of fuel and give a greater amount of heat. Malt Stores and Mill Rooms are in close proximity, and the malt after being bruised by steel rollers is sent up by Elevators into the Mash Tun - a vessel 24 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep holding 15,271 gallons, with the usual stirring gear. The Under-back holds 5,676 gallons and from here the wort goes through the coolers and two of Morton’s Refrigerators into the four wash-backs each containing 18,000 gallons. Thence after being fermented it pumped to the Wash Charger, which holds 18,000 gallons, afterwards through the four Stills which are of the plain Pot kind with a capacity of 5,500, 3,500, 2,650 and 1,000 gallons respectively. The worm tubs are in the open air, and it may here be mentioned that the Whisky in this establishment undergoes three distillations. There is of course the usual safe; also sampling safe and a Receiver, the latter a large wood en vessel holding 3,000 gallons, from this the spirit flows into the vat (holding 5,000 gallons) placed in the spirit store where it is casked, weighed, and branded in the usual way, and gent to the Warehouses of which there are ten, solid stone buildings with slated roofs, some of these 156 feet long by 96 feet wide. These Warehouses at the time of our visit contained 3,500 casks of Whisky of various ages. There is an extensive apparatus on the premises for distilling water for reducing purposes, also a powerful steam engine with two boilers 30 feet long by 7 feet diameter, and steam injectors with fire hose attached. The Coppers for heating water are pure copper vessels of large capacity each of them capable of filling the Mash Tun. There is a capital Cooperage for repairs and storage - we also noticed upwards of 100 Sherry Butts just imported from Spain.

Forty persons are employed in the works, and the Manager, Brewer, and other employés have dwellings within the enclosure. There are capital Offices for the Partners, Clerks, and Excise gentlemen. There is a railway siding direct into the works, so that barley can be brought to the very doors of the Granaries.

The Whiskey is pure Malt, and the Registered Trade Mark is “Clydesdale.”

The name of the chief excise officer is Mr. Wm. Wight, with two divisional officers and two assistants.

The annual output is 170,000 gallons.