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Issue 28 - Healthy Hart

Whisky Magazine Issue 28
January 2003


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Healthy Hart

Tom Bruce-Gardyne reports on a firm which has flourished bottling fine single malts

This October, Alistair Hart celebrated 40 years in the whisky business, during which time the industry has changed almost beyond recognition, partly because of the technological revolution. Today, Hart Brothers, the firm of independent bottlers he runs with his brother Donald in Glasgow, cruises cyberspace with the best of them. The company went online in the mid-'90s and has been trading single cask whiskies on the net ever since. Back in 1962 at Whyte & Mackay, things were rather different.

“At that time we had what seemed to be millions of these reply-paid order forms on postcards that went out with the statements. Due to a printing error it showed a case of 12 bottles of Whyte & Mackay Special at £20/6 shillings, where it should have been £20/16. So my first job was to put a tick where there should have been a 10. This lasted up until March 1963 when I eventually finished. Then the second job I had to do was bin all the cards because the Chancellor, in his wisdom, put another five bob on a case of whisky.”

After six months shuffling cards to no avail, a lesser man might well have chucked it in and gone looking for another career. But Alistair rose to the challenge and progressed to greater things along with his assistant, Richard Paterson – named 2002's ‘Blender of the Year' at Whisky Live.

While Alistair stayed on at Whyte & Mackay to become Director of Blending and Whisky Stocks, Donald and his older brother Iain were busy developing Hart Brothers, the fir...

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