Lochnagar Distillery was founded in 1845 by John Begg who was granted a long lease of the Lochnagar site by Abergeldie Estate.
Queen Victoria first visited Balmoral, half a mile away from the distillery, in 1848. John Begg invited Prince Albert to visit, knowing how keen he is “to make himself acquainted with all things mechanical”.
The next day Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their three eldest children visited the distillery; they observed the process and sampled its end product. John Begg received a Royal Warrant of Appointment as a supplier to the Queen. Queen Victoria enjoyed the malt and is reputed to have used it to lace her claret!
In 1882, John Begg died, leaving his son, Henry Farquharson Begg, with a large trade in blended and bottled whisky both at home and abroad.
Henry died in 1896, having created a trust of the business in which each of his children benefited equally, and in 1902 it was converted to a private limited company, John Begg Ltd.
This company was finally acquired by John Dewar and Sons Ltd in 1916. Since then, the parent company has grown and changed names several times and finally have been part of Diageo since 1997, although the distillery land and buildings still belong to Abergeldie Estate.
The distillery has not changed much since this time, with some upgrades in the 1960s when it was converted to electricity, and a visitor centre was opened in 1988 in the traditional farm buildings at the front of the distillery.
Today Royal Lochnagar remains one of the most traditional distilleries still in operation in Scotland; with an open top mash tun, two small stills and cask filling on site, quality not quantity is the way of life at Royal Lochnagar Distillery.
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