The Story of... 'Great survivor' the Springbank Distillery

When McTear's holds its next whisky auction in Glasgow and online on January 25, a Springbank Last Bottle Of The 20th Century 20-year-old will be among the highlights estimated at £1,000-1,400.

The Springbank Distillery was especially right to issue a bottle celebrating its continuing existence into the 20th century - being as it is one of the best-surviving distilleries in Scotland.

Back in 1897, when the firm became a limited company, Springbank Distillery was one of the largest in the Royal Burgh of Cambeltown, in Scotland's Kintyre Peninsula. However, the economic depression of the 1920s-30s nearly spelled disaster for Cambeltown's distilleries.

This was coupled with an overproduction to meet booming demand for the region's whiskies, and fears that Cambeltown's dominance of the Glasgow markets led many distilleries to produce inferior whiskies.

Whisky lovers took note, and the area once known as "The Hector of the West" soon became known as the "Stinking Fish". While the distillers making poor spirits were the first to fail, they also nearly dragged the whole of Cambeltown down with them.

Springbank whisky distilled in 1900
An historic Springbank whisky distilled in 1900

Only two distillers were able to survive the economic depression and growing indiscriminate condemnation of Cambeltown whisky: one of which was the Springbank distillery.

After lying dormant for some years, Springbank began again under new ownership and - along with the Scotia (renamed Glen Scotia) distillery - continued Cambeltown's whisky traditions into the new generations.

Today, the distillery remains one of only two Scottish distilleries to produce, mature and bottle their product on the same premises. They even malt their own barley. What's more, its owners are descendants of the original Mitchell family who set it up in 1828.

Ultimately, it is Springbank's dedication to quality which has placed its drams among the most sought-after and valued whiskies on the markets - as will likely be demonstrated at McTear's later this month.


Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today 

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock