Extract from Alfred Barnard’s historic tour of every whisky distillery in Great Britain, published in ‘1887’
A TEN minutes’ walk from our hotel, along Buchanan Street, the finest thoroughfare in Glasgow, and through busy Argyle Street, across the beautiful bridge which spans the Clyde, and we find ourselves at the Adelphi Distillery. Sixty-five years ago the site upon which it stands was a fine orchard, but in 1826 the trees were cut down to make room for the Distillery. The works cover upwards of two acres of ground, and are situated close to the banks of the Clyde. The course of this noble river, through the heart of the city, forms one of the most striking panoramas of its kind in the United Kingdom. From the centre of Jamaica Bridge, the scene presented to the ere is one never to he forgotten; a forest of masts extending as far as the eye can reach; the open centre of the silver stream; the wharves piled with wares from every nation, and alive with men from all parts of the world; the continuous flow of passengers passing to and from the various steamers; and the endless variety of sounds and sights complete a picture unequalled in any other city in the world. The bustle and activity of modern days is here seen to its fullest advantage.
The Distillery Buildings occupy nearly a whole street on bath sides of the war, and, as we approached, presented an appearance of great activity. We entered through a Gothic archway, across a courtyard, to the principal office, where we secured a guide, and set forth upon our tour of inspection. We first proceeded to the Grain Lofts or Warehouses, buildings of lofty elevation, one of them 112 feet long by 100 feet broad, and another 96 feet long and 20 feet broad, which, with the warehouses at Port Dundas, are capable of storing 15,000 quarters of grain; the delivery of the grain to the various ware houses is accomplished by the aid of steam and hydraulic machinery. Adjoining the warehouses is the Malting Loft, a building 86 feet by 21 feet. The Steeps here are arranged in German fashion on an upper floor, beneath which the barley is malted in trays, of which there are some thousands, each sliding from out an upright frame fixed to the ceiling, in order that the operator may watch the progress of the acrospire; from this chamber the malt is elevated to the Kiln, which is floored with wire-cloth and heated by hot air. We next passed to the Malt Deposit, a spacious floor used for this purpose, measuring 50 feet by 22, and placed in close proximity to the Mill. We should here observe that the blocks of buildings four stories high, built on the banks of the canal, containing three barley Boors with steeps, a malting Boor and two kilns, the latter approached by a gangway from the lofts. They are handsome apartments, open roofed, about 60 feet square and floored with iron plates. These kilns are fired with peat in open furnaces.
We next entered the Mill Building which adjoins the engine house. The whole grain is conveyed to the mill by screws, and the grist carried by machinery to the “grist lofts and hoppers, which command the Mash Tuns. The mill contains 3 pairs of stones and a set of rollers. From this building we proceeded to the Grist Loft which adjoins the Malting House, and from thence descended to the Mash House, which contains three large heating coppers for hot water, and two circular mash tuns; a large underback is situated below the three boilers. Ascending a steep stair we next visited the Back House, in which are ten wash-backs, containing on an average 16,000 gallons each; there are two more in course of construction in a building immediately adjoining. In addition there are three wash chargers, holding in all 45,000 gallons, which in turn command the stills. On a Boor above this department the coolers and refrigeration apparatus are placed. Following the wash, as the liquor is now called, we next proceeded to the Distillery proper, where the important change in its nature takes place. There are two Still Houses, one of which contains a Coffey’s Patent Still for the production of Grain Whisky, the other for Malt. The latter is a fine lofty and well-lighted building, some 60 feet high and 35 feet square, and contains four handsome Pot Stills, two with a capacity of 6,067 gallons, and the other 4,314 and 4,500 gallons respectively; here are also the usual safe and receivers. The power of the Stills has hitherto been such in excess of the brewing power of the works; but the two huge backs In course of construction will increase their capacity.
In addition to this establishment Messrs. A. Walker & Co. are owners of a fine Distillery in Limerick, Ireland, and another in Liverpool, particulars of which will be found in another portion of this work. The Whisky made is both Malt and Grain, and the output, taken upon the return for the season 1884-5, is 516,053 gallons.