The History of the Distillers Company, 1877-1939: Diversification and Growth in Whisky and Chemicals


The Distillers Company (DCL) existed from 1877 until 1986 when it was acquired by Guinness. This book covers DCL's history from its founding as the merger of six firms to its position as one of Britain's largest manufacturing companies with diversified interests around the world. It is an extraordinary story of growth, acquisition, and diversification. By the 1920s DCL dominated the whisky industry in Scotland eventually acquiring the then big three blending firms - James Buchanan, John Dewar, and John Walker. With unfettered access to company records Dr Weir has been able to piece together the story of the company that was once described as concealing its activities behind a `tartan curtain'. He traces the role of key individuals like William ross; its lobbying and campaigning activities against drink controls; its international marketing in North America, where its partners included Joseph Kennedy; and its later diversification into industrial alcohol, fuel alcohol, and chemicals to meet the demands of the growing science-based industries. This book is the first full-length study of DCL based on the company's own archives and will appeal to a wide range of readers - those interested in the history of whisky and the Scottish distilleries; economic and business historians concerned with the growth of major corporations; and management analysts studying the processes of growth, diversification, entrepreneurship, and R&D that are the necessary ingredients of the sustained growth of successful companies.

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