In 1827, George Ballantine established a grocery store in Edinburgh. His products included a range of whiskies and spirits. George set up a new store in Glasgow in 1865, which he deemed a more profitable location. Whilst he appointed his son Archibald to run the Edinburgh operations. At this time George Ballantine began creating his own blends.
Sales were favourable and Ballantine employed another son, George Jr – thus, George Ballantine and Son Ltd came into being. They began exporting their products and the business went from strength to strength and remained under George Jr’s watchful eye until 1919 when Barclay and McKinlay acquired the business. It was from this point that Ballantine was really promoted as a viable brand.
In 1937, Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts became the majority shareholder and subsequently purchased the Glenburgie and Miltonduff distilleries to provide a staple supply of whisky for their newly acquired blend brand. The company also built a substantial grain distillery at Dumbarton. Ballantines continued to prosper and in 1986 became the largest blended whisky label in Europe. It is the entry level Ballantines blend, ‘Finest’, that makes up 89% of their worldwide sales, which amount to 5.3million cases annually.