He broke with that illegal tradition and obtained a distiller’s licence but this attracted unwanted attention from the illegal smugglers and many threats were made against the distillery, Smith himself and his family.
His perseverance paid off though, and with Smith acting as the pioneer many more legal distilleries followed and the illegal smuggling all but died out. By 1958 demand has risen so much for their whisky that Smith and his son John Gordon, who was taking a more active role in the business, opened a new distillery close to the original. The distillery, and the demand for the Glenlivet whisky went from strength to strength, allowing it to remain open during the Great Depression and Prohibition - something which saw the downfall of many of their competitors. It was only a Government decree which saw the closure of the distillery during World War II, however it was soon back up and running at full capacity by 1947. In more recent years the Glenlivet Distillery has seen a number of different owners, with Seagram purchasing it in 1977 following a number of mergers in the decade previous, Pernod Richard then purchased it in 2000 and it has since been sold to Campari Group in 2005 who remain the current owners.