As of 2010, Glenlivet have hugely upped their production of single malt whisky, and as a result their market share and visibility is higher than ever. They now rival Glenfiddich as the number one malt whisky producer.
Apparently, the distillery is still run ‘old school’ with a large number of staff, as opposed to computerization and automation. Based on the River Livet, hence the name, Glenlivet was created by George Smith. Unlike other whisky producers of his time, he produced his whisky legally by obtaining a distiller’s license in 1824. In the 1800s, bowing to the English and paying your taxes was akin to treason, so his decision didn’t go down well with his Scottish compatriots. Nonetheless, George Smith’s vision was of a successful legitimate business, rather than a smuggling operation.
His business was so successful that in 1871 George Smith’s son, John, needed to obtain a trademark due to shady competitors stealing his product or labeling their own as Glenlivet. Henceforth the whisky was referred to as The Glenlivet, as in, ‘the one true Glenlivet’.
From there on, Glenlivet grew to become a global brand. The American market opened up in the mid 20th century and Glenlivet capitalized on it well. In recent years, Glenlivet has been somewhat devalued by its popularity, but its range nonetheless remains very strong.