An iconic brand since 1923
1920 - Prohibition
What is Prohibition? Nicknamed “the Noble Experiment”, Prohibition was a complete ban on the production, importation and sale of alcohol in the US (can you imagine?!). It lasted almost 14 years, and everyone who still supported the drinking of alcohol had to unite together to stand up against the establishment and keep the liquor business alive in secret.
1922 - The Cutty Sark Ship
The legendary Tea Clipper ship ‘Cutty Sark’ – the fastest ship of its day – retired to England for naval training.
1923 - Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky
Our Whisky was thought up on the 23rd of March 1923, at No. 3 St James’s Street in London. The partners of Berry Bros. & Rudd (the famous wine makers and official supplier of the royal family) Francis Berry and Hugh Rudd, met with Scottish artist James McBey for lunch. Pretty quickly, the conversation turned to Whisky (as all good conversations do), and they soon realised that there was a need to create a new, lighter style of Blended Whisky. With a dream to go global, their first aim was to break the USA.
1923 - The Legend Behind The Label
The original CUTTY SARK Whisky label was designed by James MacBey, a famous Scottish artist and enthusiastic sailor. Named after the legendary three-mast tea clipper, the ship is an integral part of the design. And why is it yellow? If truth be told, that’s a result of a printing error! The paper turned out bright yellow instead of cream and stayed this way throughout the years.
1923 - The Real McCoy
Not that long after Prohibition began, Captain Bill McCoy started dealing with smugglers in Rum Row (the name given to Atlantic waters just outside the US maritime border). Captain McCoy’s reputation for dealing in only the finest liquor resulted in CUTTY SARK being referred to as “The Real McCoy”. He was caught in late 1923, and by that time CUTTY SARK had captured the hearts (and taste buds) of Whisky fans across the country at the height of the cocktail culture in the speakeasies with its refined and elegant taste.
1930s - 1950s
1933 - The end of Prohibition leads to a meteoric rise in popularity
When Prohibition came to an end and alcohol was no longer illegal, sales of CUTTY SARK shot up. Over 7,000 cases of CUTTY SARK Blended Scotch Whisky were sold by 1934, with over 80,872 cases being sold by 1936!
1956 - Cutty Sark Advertising
In 1956, new press advertisements which used full colour pictures of the clipper ship sailing at top speed were seen for the first time. The stunning designs of Cutty Sark were award-winning, and contributed to the brand's rise.
1960s - 1990's
1961 – Cutty Sark becomes best-selling Scotch Whisky in the USA
Thanks to the end of Prohibition and its huge fan base, CUTTY SARK became the first Scotch Whisky to sell a million cases in the United States of America.
1963 - Cutty Sark in Space
Gordon Cooper (the youngest of the USA’s first seven astronauts) smuggled a 5cl bottle of CUTTY SARK for a midnight snack on the Mercury 9 mission.
1968 - Cutty Sark Sales skyrocket
CUTTY SARK sold 2.4m cases. That’s around 200,000 cases a month. Which was a lot of Whisky !
1971 – Queen’s award for export
This was awarded again in 1981.
1996-2007 – Cutty Sark on the Silver Screen
Hollywood brings CUTTY SARK to the big screen with 1996’s “The Associate” starring Whoopi Goldberg. It can also be seen in a number of classics over the years, including “Raging Bull” (1980), “Goodfellas” (1990), “The Sopranos” (1999) and “Mad Men” (2007). Enjoyed by everyone from gentry to gangsters!
2000's - Today
2013 – Say hello to Cutty Sark Prohibition
Released 80 years after Prohibition ended, our Prohibition Edition Whisky has been crafted as a salute to the notorious (or some may say courageous) Bill McCoy, and to celebrate the end of “The Noble Experiment”.
Learn more about CUTTY SARK Prohibition
2018 – GLEN TURNER COMPANY LIMITED and Cutty Sark
GLEN TURNER COMPANY LIMITED acquires CUTTY SARK from Edrington
2022 – Cutty family grows with Cutty Sark 12
CUTTY SARK keeps its bold spirit and unveils its new 12 year old expression; a statutory and audacious Whisky straight from Scotland where it is elaborated with commitment and precision.