Location: Dumbarton, Scotland
Owner: Pernod Ricard
Widely Available? No (hard to find in Scotland and much of the U.K.)
In 1827, George Ballantine opened a small grocery store in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he sold several whiskies. The store was a success, and soon Ballantine was wealthy enough to invest in what had become his real passion: alcohol. He entrusted the original store to his oldest son Archibald and opened up a larger grocer in Glasgow. The new shop focused on the wine and spirit trade and catered to wealthy and royal clientele. Ballantine started creating his own blends, sold under the name “George Ballantine and Son Ltd,” which quickly earned a following. Business continued to thrive throughout generations, and by the mid-1980s, Ballantine’s was named the No. 1 brand in Europe and the third largest in the world. Ballantine’s oldest recipe is considered iconic and blends more than 40 malts and grains selected from four different Scottish regions.
Trivia: As a boy, George Ballantine blended teas.
In Pop Culture: Ballantine’s was one of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s favorite drinks along with Daiquiris and Bloody Marys.
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