White Horse Distillers and their successors Scottish
Malt Distillers were a subsidiary company of the then Distillers
Company Ltd (DCL), probably at the time the world's largest
producer of Scotch Whisky. They owned several distilleries on
the Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides off Scotland's west coast,
principal amongst which were Ardbeg, Caol Isla, Lagavulin, and
Port Ellen. These distilleries needed a constant supply
of barley for their maltings, and had to get their matured
product back to the mainland for bottling and distribution.
All of the distilleries owned by SMD on the island
were in coastal locations with their own jetties and so having their
own small vessels like both of the Pibrochs made logistic
and economic sense at at time when the island's roads simply wern't
up to sustained heavy freight transport.
Their first Pibroch* was
launched by Scotts of Bowling in 1923 and sailed with the Company
until being disposed of in 1957, when she was replaced by the second
Pibroch, a much more modern motor vessel.
The rapid development of freight carrying car ferries serving the
Hebridean Islands in the 70's and the great improvements made in the
road network meant that it became much more economic to transfer the
cargoes to road vehicles using these new routes. This ultimately led
to SMD disposing of Pibroch to Glenlight Shipping Ltd. in 1976.
* The name "Pibroch" or "Piobaireachd" in Gaelic,
is an alternative name for "Ceol Mor", or "Great Music",
essentially the classical music of the Great Highland