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The History Of Oban

People and places don't just shape a Single Malt Scotch Whisky's flavour. They change the course of its future. Get a taste of how the whisky you love today came to be, with this brief Oban timeline.

1794

1794

A year after forming their brewing company, Hugh and John Stevenson, local merchants and entrepreneurs, begin distilling at Oban.

1813

1813

A son, Thomas Stevenson, returns from Buenos Aires to begin his association with the distillery.

 

1820

1820

Thomas’ father Hugh dies a year after being elected the second Provost of Oban.

 

1821

1821

Thomas buys up the remaining shares in the Oban Brewery Company.

 

1830

1830

After years of poor financial decisions made by his father, Hugh’s Grandson John Stevenson buys the distillery

 

1866

1866

Death in the family prompts the sale of the distillery to local merchant Peter Cumstie.

 

1880

1880

The railway arrives in Oban, bringing more commerce and tourism to a town which has largely grown up around the distillery.

1883

1883

J. Walter Higgin buys Oban, and production continues. In an early advert he declares it “The Finest Sma’ Still Whisky in the Highlands.”

1890

1890

Fire breaks out in a number of buildings in the distillery, slowing production.

1890

1890

Higgin sets about rebuilding the distillery to his own standards. The builders uncover a long-sealed cave while making alterations, discovering Mesolithic remains behind the distillery.

 

1898

1898

Higgin sells Oban at the height of the whisky boom to a consortium.

 

1900

1900

Despite the crash that followed the boom, Oban’s production continues.

 

1930

1930

Scottish Malt Distillers buy Oban.

 

1960

1960

The stills are converted to mechanical stoking.

 

1968

1968

The distillery’s position at the centre of town looks like it might hamper expansion, and Oban is slated for closure.

 

1972

1972

A new stillhouse is built, saving the distillery from closure.