Ord Distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas Mackenzie, the land-owner, and licensed to Robert Johnstone and Donald McLennan. Johnstone went bankrupt in 1843, as did his successor, Alexander McLennan. When he died in 1870 it passed to his widow, who prudently married Alec MacKenzie, a banker. In 1878 he built a new stillhouse, but this burned down the same year, so he started again. He died in 1896 and ownership passed to James Watson & Company of Dundee, who extended the distillery and tripled production by 1901. In 1923, Glen Ord changed hands again, this time to Dewars, marking the beginning of the use of their Single Malt in the Blend.
Glen Ord survived a series of other mergers, eventually landing in the possession of DCL. In 1966, the distillery was renovated and expanded, with the number of stills increasing from 2 to 6. In 1985 Glen Ord was acquired by United Distillers & Vintners, who became part of Diageo a decade later.