Distillery History

1895-1911: The original Speyside Distillery in Kingussie


Tromie-Mills-19601956: The Christie family’s first connection with the Kingussie area when George Christie purchased Old Milton House and the land on which the distillery now stands by the River Tromie. It was only after owning the property for a decade that Christie found out that Old Milton used to be the home of John MacPherson Grant, managing director of the original Speyside distillery which operated from 1895 until 1911   

1962: George Christie commissions Alex Fairlie to build a distillery on the land he had purchased six years earlier.

1987: Work on the distillery is finally completed.

1990: 12th December Distillation commences and stocks are later laid down at George Christie’s warehouse in Glasgow. The company also begins supplying casks to several independent bottlers and private individuals including in following years John Harvey McDonough.


1993: After being left to mature in warehouses for three years, Speyside Distillery launches its first single malt, Drumguish.

1999: A few more years go by until the next launch, The Speyside 8-year-old.

2001: Just over a decade after distilling first commenced at Speyside Distillery, The Speyside 10-year-old goes to market.

2001: Speyside Distillery becomes’ LAGGANMORE distillery’ for BBC’s Monarch of the Glen ( see article below)

2012: Harvey’s of Edinburgh buys Speyside Distillery and its warehouse. The purchase by John Harvey McDonough – a customer of the distillery - enables the family to return to distillery ownership for the first time in nearly a century.

The acquisition of Speyside Distillery was the lifetime achievement for John Harvey McDonough allowing todays’ SPEY brand to grow from strength to strength using time-honoured techniques and specialising in cask finishes.


2014: A new single malt range, SPEY from Speyside Distillery is launched with a core of five expressions including: Royal Choice; Chairmans Choice; and the new SPEY Tenne

2014: Michael Owen is appointed as Brand Ambassador for Asia.

2015: Beinn Dubh Single Malt is added to our Speyside Distillery family of brands along with our Byron’s Choice Single Malt.

2016: 2 New Single Malts added to our core range SPEY Trutina and SPEY Fumare

2017: BYRON’s GIN is added to our Speyside Distillery family of brands.


Speyside distillery was been transformed into the fictional Lagganmore distillery, and served as a film set for the fifth series of the BBC Scotland television drama series Monarch of the Glen. The last series of Monarch regularly attracted 8.5m viewers in the United Kingdom and was sold to 24 countries around the world, including the United States of America, Canada and Australia, which means that this is an invaluable shop window for the Scotch whisky industry.


According to Monarch of the Glen producer Stephen Garwood, "The show is very much about Scotland and we are always trying to make stories relevant to Scotland. It’s a fact that whisky is a primary source of interest in this country. We'd never seen a distillery on Monarch before, and apart from anything else it makes a fantastic backdrop to the action. We wanted to feature a local business, and we all came to the conclusion that it would be great to do a distillery story. Early on, we sent the writer along to have a look at the Speyside distillery, and he thought it was fantastic".


"I came across the Speyside distillery when we were filming nearby. Immediately I knew it was the right place. We recognise that whisky is a massive icon of Scottishness, so it makes a lot of sense for it to feature in Monarch. Speyside was perfect in scale for the purposes of the story, suitably traditional in appearance, and beautifully situated. When it came to 'dressing' the distillery for filming, few changes were required in order to transform it into Lagganmore. Internally, some wooden panelling was added to the 'open-plan' production area in order to suggest greater antiquity, and a corner of the building was turned into a mini-warehouse, with the whisky casks stencilled 'Lagganmore'.

In addition to its role as a film star, the Speyside distillery has several other claims to fame. For one, it must surely merit a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the length of time it took to build!

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