James Buchanan & Company v Assessor for Glasgow

Judgment Date21 January 1932
Date21 January 1932
Docket NumberNo. 42.
CourtLands Valuation Appeal Court (Scotland)

Lands Valuation Appeal Court.

Lord Hunter. Lord Sands. Lord Fleming.

No. 42.
James Buchanan & Co
Assessor for Glasgow

ValuationValueSubjectsDerating"Industrial lands and heritages"Premises where proprietary whisky blended, bottled, boxed, and dispatchedExceptions"Distributive wholesale business"Apportionment of valuationRating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928 (18 and 19 Geo. V. cap. 44), sec. 3 (1) (c).

Held that premises occupied by a company whose business consisted in the blending of different whiskies into a proprietary blend known as "Black and White," were "industrial lands and heritages" within the meaning of sec. 3 (1) of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, and did not fall within exception (c) as being primarily occupied and used for "the purposes of wholesale distributive business," in respect that the process of blending was a necessary process in the manufacture of the "Black and White" blend; but that those portions of the premises devoted to bottling, labelling, boxing and dispatching were not industrial, and that, accordingly, there must be an apportionment of the valuation.

The Court, in view of decisions of the House of Lords in English cases and in particular the case of Sedgwick v. Watney, Combe, Reid & Co.ELR, [1931] A. C. 447, departed from their decision in Inland Revenue v. John Walker & Sons,1930 S. C. 372.

In making up the Roll for the year ending Whitsunday 1932 the Assessor for Glasgow did not mark as "Industrial," under the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928,1"Stores" and "Warehouse" in Washington Street, owned and occupied by James Buchanan & Company, Limited, and W. P. Lowrie & Company, Limited. The Valuation Committee having dismissed an appeal at the instance of the proprietors, the appellants appealed to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court by stated case.

The case set forth that the following facts were admitted or proved, or were within the knowledge of the Committee:"(1) The

subjects to which these appeals related are situated at Nos. 30 to 52 Washington Street, Glasgow, and, although comprising three entries in the Valuation Roll, are used as one set of premises for the purposes hereinafter narrated. The appellants, who are the joint proprietors of premises at 30 to 46B Washington Street, are whisky blenders. W. P. Lowrie & Company, Limited, are an associate company of James Buchanan & Company, Limited, and both these companies in turn are associated with and controlled by the Distillers Company, Limited. The preference shares of W. P. Lowrie & Company, Limited, are held by the public, but the ordinary shares are held by James Buchanan & Company, Limited, and Buchanan Dewar, Limited. The appellants were, however, in association in these premises before the amalgamation with the Distillers Company, Limited, and their selling policy is not controlled by that company. (2) The premises Nos. 30 to 46 Washington Street consist of a building of five floors and a basement. Each floor is divided into four compartments by means of brick fire-proof partitions with fire-proof doors. The premises 46A, 46B, 50, and 52 Washington Street consist each of a one-storey building separated from its neighbours by similar fire-proof partitions and doors. The superficial area of the whole subjects in round figures is 254,000 square feet. (3) On these premises the appellants blend and bottle, and from them distribute, a particular brand of whisky known as "Black and White." The premises are the only distribution centre in Scotland for this particular whisky. (4) The ingredients used in the blending of this whisky are what are known as single whiskies. These are prepared both from malt distillation and from grain distillation. They are not distilled by the appellants but by the Scottish Malt Distillers, Ltd. (which is itself an associated company of the Distillers Company, Ltd.) at various distilleries throughout the country. They are sent to the premises under appeal to the order of W. P. Lowrie & Company, Ltd. These single whiskies when they are delivered at the appellants' premises are already fully matured. (5) Grain whisky is of a flavourless character, and is used for giving distinction to the flavours of malt whiskies. Malt whisky is the produce of barley. Single whiskies, whether grain or malt, are not to-day drunk to any large extent by the general public, as the appellants and other firms of whisky blenders have created a demand for blended whiskies which have now established themselves in popular favour. Single whiskies are still drunk, but not extensively, and the appellants, in producing the blended whisky, are not turning non-potable liquids into potable, nor unmarketable liquids into marketable. They are catering for a change in the whisky palate of the bulk of the present-day public, which change may be, to some extent, due to the operations of the appellants themselves. The liquor which is distributed from these premises, though different in quality, is not chemically a different substance from the liquors which enter them. By a process of blending the latter, there has been evolved a whisky more acceptable to the public taste than the individual whiskies of which it is composed. What were commodities each with a limited market have by blending become a commodity for which there is a greater public demand than for its individual constituents. (6) In the particular blend of whisky produced by the appellants several single grain whiskies and several single malt whiskies are used. The blend is composed according to a secret formula used only by the appellants, and on the correct use of this formula the particular flavour of "Black and White" whisky depends. (7) The first step in the process carried on by the appellants on these premises is the receipt of the single whiskies in casks from the distilleries. These casks are taken to the third floor of the premises Nos. 38/40 Washington Street by means of hoists. On arrival there they are examined by excise officers and their contents checked. (8) The next step is the mixing together by themselves of all the grain whiskies and all the malt whiskies respectively, which are to go into the finished blend. This is done by emptying the casks into troughs on the third floor, from which the liquor runs into the blending vats, which are situated on the second floor. In the vats the ingredients are mixed by means of compressed air which is driven by gas engines, and is forced through the liquid. The grain whisky or malt whisky, as the case may be, is then rebarrelled and undergoes a process known as marrying. This consists in allowing the composite whisky to remain in cask a sufficiently long time to allow the various single whiskies, of which it is composed, to intermix thoroughly. This is an essential step in the process of blending. (9) After this marrying process has been completed for both grain and malt whiskies, the two composite whiskies are poured together into the blending vats where they are mixed together as before, by means of compressed air. The blended liquid thus produced is again placed in barrels which are allowed to stand to permit of a second marrying process. (10) After this is completed, the blended whisky is again poured into the vats and again roused by means of compressed air. Up till this stage the whisky is considerably overproof. Water is then added to it to bring it to the strength at which it satisfies the statutory requirements for public sale. It is then led from the vats to the bottling...

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3 cases
  • Strathleven Bonded Warehouses Ltd v Assessor for Dumbartonshire
    • United Kingdom
    • Lands Valuation Appeal Court (Scotland)
    • 14 May 1965
    ...were "industrial lands and heritages" within the meaning of sec. 3 (1) of the 1928 Act. James Buchanan & Co. v. Assessor for Glasgow, 1932 S. C. 358, At a meeting of the Valuation Appeal Committee for the County of Dumbarton, Strathleven Bonded Warehouses Limited appealed against an entry i......
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    ...3 SLR 489 (distd) Collector of Land Revenue v Alagappa Chettiar [1971] 1 MLJ 43 (folld) James Buchanan & Co Ltd v Assessor for Glasgow 1932 SC 358 (folld) Letang v Cooper [1965] 1 QB 232 (folld) Pan-United Marine Ltd v Chief Assessor [2007] 2 SLR (R) 633; [2007] 2 SLR 633 (distd) People's P......
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    ...V, cap. 44. 7 Kaye v. BurrowsELR, [1931] A. C. 454, Lord Dunedin at p. 485. 9 Sec. 9 (2). 10 1 Edw. VII, cap. 22. 8 [1931] A. C. 151. 11 1932 S. C. 358. 13 1931 S. C. 14 [1931] A. C. 151. 15 1939 S. C. 262. ...

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