Campbeltown was once at the centre of whisky production. Over twenty distilleries operated there in the nineteenth century, encouraged by the abundance of local supplies of peat, barley from the Mull of Kintyre and a nearby source of cheap coal.
However over-production, too-wide a variation in quality control and the exhaustion of the local coal seam contributed to the decline of the local industry. In addition, the introduction of Prohibition to the United States of America in 1920 caused a gargantuan slump in transatlantic sales of Campbeltown whisky (large quantities had previously been exported to the U.S. due to the geographical location of Campbeltown). Now only three distilleries remain.
Campbeltown whiskies are quite distinctive, with a character which is mellower than that of the Islay malts, with a smoothness and a variable peatiness in the flavour.