Dumbarton distillery

At the time of its creation the Dumbarton complex was at the time the largest grain distillery in Europe. Alongside the ‘Dumbarton’ grain stills were two malt still houses, ‘Inverleven’ also founded in 1938 and the ‘Lomond’ using stills designed by Alistair Cunningham and Hiram Walker’s draftsman Arthur Warren, founded in 1959

The Lomond still was mothballed in 1985 but eventually found new life producing the Botanist gin for Bruichladdich, Inverleven continued for a few years falling silent in 1991 the stills eventually finding their way to Ireland’s Waterford distillery. Alas Dumbarton was closed in 2002 as production shifted to Strathclyde as the column stills ran through a concrete floor, making structural alterations extremely difficult.

Dumbarton was also notable for the ‘Scotch Watch’ a flock of Chinese white geese used to guardian the Dumbuck sites warehouses, who featured prominently in Ballentine’s advertising. The thinking being that anyone who did brave the geese would result in the Watch causing enough noise to alert the neighbours

Dumbarton factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Dumbarton dum*bar*ton Lowlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Lost 1938 - 2002 Malt, Grain Dumbarton Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group

Dumbarton Timeline:

1926: Harry Clifford Hatch acquires Hiram Walker & Sons and merges it with Gooderham & Worts of Toronto to form Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts Ltd

1930: Hiram Walker acquires a 60 percent stake in James & George Stodart Ltd of Glasgow includes a share of George Ballantine & Son Ltd

1937: Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd is registered

1938: The Dumbarton distillery complex including the Inverleven stills are opened by Hiram Walker & Son

1956: A Lomond still is added to Inverleven’s set-up

1959: Thomas Scott introduced ‘The Scotch Watch’ a flock of Chinese white geese to act as guardians

1985: Lomond is mothballed

1988: Hiram Walker is acquired by Allied Lyons

1991: Inverleven distillery is closed

1992: Alistair Cunningham retires

2002: Dumbarton distillery is shut down, and the majority of its buildings demolished

2012: ‘The Scotch Watch’ geese are retired

2017: The last remnants of the site, the distillery tower is demolished to make way for social housing

Useful Dumbarton links:

Dumbarton at ScotchWhisky

Dumbarton at MaltMadness

Dumbarton at Whisky

Dumbarton at WhiskyPortal

Dumbarton at MasterOfMalts

Dumbarton at WhiskyExhange

Dumbarton at Wormtub

Dumbarton at Whiskybase

Interesting Dumbarton links:

A sad day in Dumbarton

Iconic tower demolition

Dumbarton at Canmore

A look at Dumbarton

Farewell to the Scotch Watch

Mr Ballantine's obituary

Dumbartons Kilmalid investment

Ballantine's blend story

Can I tour Dumbarton?

No, unfortunately Dumbarton distillery is not open to the public for tours