Springbank distillery takes its roots from a rich and extensive heritage of illicit distillation on the Kintyre Peninsula. Thanks to the records of Robert Armour, a Campbeltown plumber and coppersmith we know he made 400 small stills from 1811-1817. The income Robert made making these illegal stills totaled £350 per year. Among the names in the records Robert kept were those of Reid and Mitchell. William Reid took out a license for Sprinkbank distillery in 1828 and like many smugglers did not fare to well in the legitimate trade of whisky. In 1837 he sold the distillery to his in-laws John and William Mitchell. In 1872 William left and John's son Alexander joined the distillery.
Campbelttown became Scotland's whisky capital in the late 19th and early 20th century due to quick travel to Glasgow and a steady supply of coal from nearby Machrihanish. 35 distilleries were operational during this period producing various styles of whisky. In the 1920's all of Scotland was affected by a collapse in the whisky trade, closing 50 distilleries around Scotland. Campbeltown took the brunt of the closures with every distillery but Glen Scotia, Hazelburn and Springbank closing down and by 1960 Hazelburn was gone as well.
Springbank was mothballed from 1979 to 1987 due to the ebb and flow of the whisky trade. Upon opening it doors again John Mitchell's great great grandson made the decision to not sell to blenders anymore, instead desiring to develop their single malt sales. In 1992 Maltings were re-opened and after a number of years the Springbank range of whisky finally became balanced. It is truly one of Scotland's cult distilleries.