For generations, the ancestors of George Smith were engaged in distillation in the Livet Valley. Their name was Gow at the time, and they changed it to Smith - most English-sounding name - after a lost battle against the English. In 1823, they were able to grant a license application thanks to the "Excise Act" coming into effect. George Smith was the first to apply for and obtain the legal license to operate a distillery. He began his activities in his own farm. In the 1880s, The Glenlivet had acquired such a reputation that many distillers, unscrupulous, did not hesitate to borrow his name. John Gordon Smith partially won the case he instituted its competitors, and he was the only one to use the name of Glenlivet without further addition. Then it became "The Glenlivet", whereas the others had obtained the right to add the name Glenlivet to them. The whisky brand was registered in 1870.