Some Whisky Trivia
(Extract from “The Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky”- Michael Brander 1990)
“Although by the 1890’s most of the big brand whisky brands were selling well throughout the world there were many dubious “fly by night” firms cashing in on the boom by selling whisky of a very low standard at inflated prices. One of the more flamboyant and dubious firms , blending and selling their own whisky at this time were Pattison’s Ltd, controlled by two brothers, Robert and Walter Pattison, who had started as dairy wholesalers and graduated to dispensing whisky because they felt there was more profit in that than in selling watered-down milk.
They found they could buy cheap grain whisky at under a shilling a gallon and by adding a minute quantity of malt whisky, could sell it at 8s 6d a gallon, describing it as finest “Glenlivet”.
One of their more bizarre attempts at advertising included distributing to their retailers some 500 parrots which were allegedly trained to say “Drink Pattison’s Whisky”
Despite, or because of, such sales practices, they went bankrupt in 1898 to the then almost unheard of sum of 82,000 pounds.
Investigation soon revealed fraud on a massive scale as well as making the public aware of the more deplorable methods of blending used by the disreputable end of the industry.”
The trial of the Pattison brothers, together with the outbreak of the Boer War brought to an end the whisky boom of the 1890’s.
It also brought before the public the differences between pot-still whiskies, the source of our single malts, and continuously distilled grain whiskies."
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