JAMESON whiskey is well-known as an Irish whiskey, but its founder was a Scotsman.

Born in Alloa on October 5, 1740, John Jameson went on to learn about the whisky industry locally before starting the new venture in Ireland.

At the age of 25, Jameson was appointed Sheriff Clerk of Clackmannanshire, a position he held until his death, and three years later, he met and married Margaret Haig.

Her father was a tobacconist in Alloa, and her brothers began the famous Scotch whisky manufacturing company, Haig.

She was also related by marriage to another whisky dynasty, the Steins. Through these connections, Jameson became General Manager for John Stein at Kennetpans Distillery.

Stein himself was not content with a purely Scottish business so in 1780 branched out into Ireland where he established the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin.

His ancestors had established the distillery at Kennetpans around the 1720s when it was set up by Andrew Stein.

By 1733, Kennetpans was the largest distillery in the country, run by Andrew’s son John. It was Stein’s son John that branched out into the Irish market and employed Jameson.

Six years later Jameson became manager of the distillery, which at the time was producing around 30,000 gallons of whiskey a year.

By the early 19th century this had jumped to over one million gallons, making it the second largest producer in Ireland, and one of the largest in the world.

It became the largest in 1805. However, the temperance movement proved a big obstacle and commonwealth countries tended to support the Irish’s Scottish cousins in whisky export.

In 1790, Jameson became the Bailie of Alloa Harbour. This was the same year that he and George Abercromby got together to petition for the extension of terms within a 1754 Act regarding tax on a pint of ale or beer brewed for sale in Alloa and its surrounding districts. It had been set at two Scots pennies.

The Act also put a tax on all vessels that berthed at Alloa Harbour and speaking on John’s behalf, William Jameson said that the dues were necessary to implement improvements to make it safer and larger to accommodate more shipping.

Between 1805 and 1810, Jameson and his son John took charge of the distillery in Ireland, changing its name to John Jameson & Son.

He, it is said, paid for the finest ingredients to be used in the distillation process.

His employees were paid more than contemporaries in the industry and he made sure working conditions were decent.

In return they were loyal to the firm.

JAMESON gave the workforce nicknames, with him known as Gorgeous John.

Sine Metu is the motto Jameson coined for the whiskey produced in Ireland, and remains so, meaning without fear.

It is thought it hailed from the Jamesons due their bravery in fighting off pirates in the 16th century who they "fought without fear" – or so the legend goes.

However, Jamesons was not the only distillery in Dublin at the beginning of the 19th century, and company faced many challenges over the years.

The First and Second World Wars, Prohibition and the Irish Civil War all had an impact on the business. Yet Jamesons managed to survived it all.

In the 19th century, column stills were installed in the Scottish industry but in Ireland, they still relied on the single pot stills, which they continued to use for many years.

In his personal life, he had 16 children in all, with 10 surviving into adulthood.

His wife Margaret, known as Peggy, lived until 1815, dying at the age of 63 while John died on December 3, 1823, leaving a legacy that survives to this day. He is buried in Greenside Cemetery in Alloa.

His son John took over the business. By this time, he had married John Stein’s daughter Isabella whom he had wed in 1802.

William, John’s son, took over John Stein’s Marrowbone Lane distillery in Dublin around 1800, which had been purchased the same year as the Bow Street distillery. Robert, born in 1771, followed in his father’s footsteps and became Sheriff Clerk in Alloa, the town to which he had returned as a young man.

John’s grandson Andrew Jameson, also Sheriff Clerk of Clackmannan, was later involved in the selling of the Kennetpans operation in April 1845 due to debts amassed by the Stein family.

In 1891 the Bow Street distillery became a private limited company.

In the 20th century, Jamesons merged with Cork Distillers and John Powers to create Irish Distillers Group in 1966 with, the Jameson Distillery in Bow Street closing ten years later due to the opening of the Midleton Distillery by Irish Distillers outside Cork.

The old Jameson distillery is now a visitor centre. In 1988 Pernod Ricard bought out Irish Distillers.

In 2008, a pub in Minneapolis in the USA sold 22 cases of Jameson, making it the largest sale in a pub of Jamesons to date. The business continues to thrive to this day.

John Jameson of Alloa was the great-grandfather of Guglielmo Marconi, the engineer and inventor of radio and long distance radio transmissions.