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William H Ross

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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William H Ross

William H Ross (1862-1944), managing director and chairman of the whisky firm Distillers Company Limited (DCL).

A native of Carluke, Ross joined DCL at their head office in Edinburgh in 1878 and quickly rose through the ranks as accountant, secretary, general manager and then managing director in 1900. The company was founded in 1877 as a combination of Scotland's leading grain whisky distillers, including the proprietors of Glasgow's Port Dundas Distillery. It expanded rapidly as Scotland's leading manufacturer of grain spirit but increasingly through the acquisition of famous brands of blended Scotch whisky. It was also concerned with "rationalising" the distilling industry and long-established Glasgow distilleries were among its targets. The Adelphi (also known as Loch Katrine) was acquired in 1902, Dundashill in 1903, Camlachie (confusingly, it was also known for a time as Loch Katrine) in 1920 and Yoker in 1925. All ceased distilling within a couple of years of their acquisition by DCL.

The controversial introduction of Prohibition in the United States in 1920 led to a fiercely contested prohibition poll in Glasgow, with mass meetings, demonstrations and widespread advertising. Ross chaired the Whisky Association's Anti-Prohibition Campaign Council, which was relieved to see most wards voting for no change, although there was a reduction in licenses in some areas.

Ross was appointed chairman of DCL in 1925, a post he held until his retirement through ill-health in 1935.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 052 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Keywords:
Adelphi Distillery, Camlachie Distillery, DCL, distilleries, Distillers Co, Dundashill Distillery, grain whisky, John Walker & Sons, licensing laws, Loch Katrine Distillery, Port Dundas Distillery, prohibition, Scotch whisky, Scotch Whisky Association, temperance, veto polls, whisky blenders, Yoker Distillery



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