Millburn Distillery 1931

Images of Millburn at work are extremely rare, so we're thankful for this newspaper article from an unknown source dating from 1931, which shows production back at the distillery following what must have been a period of closure during prohibition.

The actual text reads as:

Rolling of casks of 'mountain dew' to the bonds. The first filling at the re-opening of Millburn Distillery, Inverness, where it is hoped an American demand will give impetus to a trade completely 'depressed' in recent years.

There isn't too much we can take from this photograph apart from a couple of aspects. Firstly, the presence of a Millburn warehouse in the background, possibly warehouse no.4. That begs the question why would you roll newly filled casks away from it? Unless there was another warehouse and they were passing it by, it does have a staged feel to it.

The obvious answer is that the casks themselves are empty, as if filled, a single man would struggle to move such a vessel with the relatively ease of physical effort being displayed by the distillery workers above. Only the second last man, seems to be putting his back into it, and even then, perhaps a sense of drama or acting ability is shown.

Also, the casks all look fairly new and uniform, adding to that impression they are heading to the filling store, before then moving onto the warehouse. Backing up this theory are the casks deposited by the warehouse doors. Again, they all seem new and uniform, giving more prominence to the filling theory.

Lastly, the age of the workforce is noticeable. These are older men, arguably with decades of experience, the names of which may feature in our Inverness Directory research. We'll probably never know, but given the scarcity of any Millburn material, any photograph from a bygone age is most welcome.

The prohibition era at the distillery is unknown, clearly this article suggests that some form of closure did take place and there's no reason to doubt the press here. Hopefully, we can uncover more detail in the coming years..


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