The heritage of Ballantine’s Scotch whisky can be traced back to 1827, when farmer’s son George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh supplying a range of whiskies to his clientele. In 1865 George delegated the store’s operation to his eldest son, Archibald, while he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow. Here he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade, catering to clients which included the Hindu Royal Family. He also began to create his own blends. These inspired additional demand, drawing second son, George junior, into the business. Trading as “George Ballantine and Son Ltd”, the firm added a bonded warehouse and began to export their Scotch. George senior retired in 1881, George junior taking over, and died 10 years later at 83.
Business thrived under George junior, and the family sold out profitably to the firm of Barclay and McKinlay in 1919. Building on the reputation and goodwill of the “Ballantine’s” name, the new owners focused on developing it as a brand for their blended whiskys. When increasing resources were needed to compete fully in the growing world market, the internationally experienced Canadian distilling concern of Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts acquired Ballantine’s in 1937. The same year the company received the Grant of Heraldic Arms featured on their bottles, recognising George Ballantine & Son as an “incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland”.