At the end of the 15th century, a monk from Fife mentioned whisky for the first time. In 1494 he bought over a ton of malt to make the water of life. However, the beginning of the whisky market dates back to 1831, when it was allowed to produce it on an industrial scale. The industry developed quickly. The production collapsed in 1919, when prohibition began in the United States, which resulted in a sharp drop in sales. After 13 years, with the end of prohibition, whisky began its second youth. Today, as the sales and export results show, its popularity in the world is steadily growing.
The history of Scotch whisky dates back to 1494, when the first documented mention of distilling in Scotland appeared in the tax books of the time. The entry mentions "Eight bags of malt for John Cora's brother, which can be used to make aqua vitae".
In 1644, the first taxes were imposed on Scotch whisky, resulting in an increase in illegal whisky distilling in Scotland. Smuggling became standard practice for the next 150 years, and clever Scots invented creative ways to avoid tax collections. In the 1920s, more than half of Scotland's whisky was produced illegally.
In 1823, the Excise Act was passed, which sanctioned the distillation of whisky in exchange for a royalty of £10 and a fixed fee for a gallon of spirits. Smuggling has almost completely disappeared over the next decade, and many modern distilleries were established in places where illegal whisky production had previously taken place.
In the nineteenth century, the global expansion of the Scottish national drink began. Known to this day producers such as Johnnie Walker and James Chivas have taken whisky to many countries of the British Empire and far beyond, creating the origins of the global Scotch whisky market and laying the foundations for its worldwide success.
The industry suffered through Prohibition in the US and World War II, only to rebuild over the following decades to the powerhouse it is now. This has certainly been helped by robust legal protection. The first definition of Scotch whisky in UK law was established in 1933, and the new Scotch whisky regulations, which are still in effect, came into force in 2009.
Today, Scotch whisky is drunk in 175 countries around the world, and every second 38 bottles leave Scotland, allowing millions of golden drink fans to enjoy its unique taste and heritage.