Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Andrew A. Watt & Co. Ltd. Whisk(e)y Distillers - Londonderry and Glasgow

As 16th May is World Whisky Day I thought I should post something relevant. Andrew A. Watt & Co. Ltd. of Londonderry and Glasgow claimed an origin year of 1762. The mirror above was recommended to me by Abby Wise who had frequently seen it when visiting the George IV Bar on the George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. I now badly want one of them!

The Watt family had moved into the city from Ramelton in Donegal in 1762. They had two firms – Andrew A Watt & Co., and David Watt & Co., at Abbey Street and the Waterside.

Andrew Alexander Watt (Wikipedia here) was also a director of The Distillers' Company Ltd (Edinburgh), which had been founded in 1877 and owned a number of Scottish distilleries, as well as Chairman of United Distillers Ltd (Belfast) which included the Avoneil and Connswater distilleries. He closed the family business down in 1921 following a dispute with employees. He died at Easton Hall, Grantham, England on 11 October 1928, leaving £904,614 in his will.

Distillery Brae on the Waterside is one of the few remaining memories of this once mighty brand. It was famous for its Tyrconnell Irish Whisky (a brand which still exists today, but owned by a different distillery) and also its Craigdhu Old Highland Scotch Whisky. The firm had an agent in Glasgow based at 20 Union Street.

The company was succeeded by a new firm inventively called Iriscot Limited, seemingly around 1937, with Geoffrey Watt as one of its directors. Iriscot continued to make Craigdhu and other products up until 1972 when their bonded warehouse building, at the junction of Bond's Hill and Simpson's Brae, burned down.

• Further information is on this website.