Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay, and of the oldest in Scotland. The usual date ascribed to its foundation is 1779, but the distillery may have been established a decade before this, when the model village of Bowmore was built by Daniel Campbell of Shawfield. David Simpson was brought over from Bridgend to build the distillery and was succeeded by his relation Hector Simpson. Hector sold to James and William Mutter, Glasgow merchants of German extraction in 1837. They expanded the distillery and their sons retired ownership until 1892.The distillery was closed in 1915 until it was bought from the Mutter family in 1925 by J.B. Sheriff & Co. and remained under their ownership until being purchased by Inverness-based William Grigor & Son, Ltd. in 1950.
In 1963, the Glasgow whisky broker Stanley P.Morrison bought the distillery. It was substantially modernised with an innovative heat recovery system not only cutting down on fuel bills but creating sufficient excess hot water to heat the town’s swimming pool. In 1989 the Japanese distiller Suntory bought a stake in the distillery and took full control in 1994, the year after the ground-breaking Black Bowmore was launched. In 2014 Suntory bought Jim Beam which, from an Islay perspective, sees two of Islay’s most iconic single malts Bowmore and Laphroaig under the same ownership.