Old Photograph Pub Perth Perthshire Scotland

Old photograph of people outside a Pub in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland. John Dewar was born in 1806 at the small farm of Shernavil near Aberfeldy. When he left school he served as an apprentice to his elder brother who had a joiner’s business in Aberfeldy. It was when he was aged twenty two that he received an invitation from James Macdonald, a distant cousin, who had a wine merchant’s business in Perth close to the Fair Maid’s House. John liked Perth, liked the job he was in, got married and eight years later was made a partner in the firm. But he was an ambitious man and at the age of forty he set up his own shop in the High Street of Perth. Even in 1846 there was still plenty of illicit whisky produced in the Highlands though with the Act of 1823, which reduced the duty on whisky to 2s 3d per gallon, more and more legal distilleries were set up. The whisky industry, which meant the production of malt whisky, was still a small affair and nearly all the spirit was drunk within the confines of Scotland. John Dewar’s ambitions were relatively modest to begin with and for the first ten years his market was confined to Perth and the surrounding area. He made one important innovation, he started to bottle his whisky and found by these means that not only was he able to sell more locally but was also able to tackle markets further afield. The malt whisky produced at this time varied considerably in age and palatability and was not therefore a particularly popular drink in England. It was the discoveries of the virtues of blended whisky, a mixture of malts and grain whisky, that opened up the English market. John Dewar died before he was able to capitalise on this innovation and it was left to his two sons John and Tommy to create a whisky known throughout the world. To them may be added Alexander Cameron, a man who revolutionised the art of blending and who was responsible for the final blend of Dewar’s whisky which today contains around forty separate whiskies. Tommy was the salesman and travelled all over the world promoting the product. He remained a bachelor, became Baron Dewar and made his home in Sussex. He donated Kinnoull Hill to the people of Perth. John remained in Scotland, was made Baron Forteviot and always retained an intense interest in the affairs of Perth. He worked as a County Councillor and later became MP for Perth and East Perth. He died November 23rd 1929.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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