The world's second highest selling Scotch whisky, it has historically been strong in Southern Europe,Olly Wehring, Pernod Ricard lagging Diageo in Scotch despite China leadership - analyst, just-drinks.com, 22 May 2012. where it was among the first Scotch whiskies to gain a foothold in the market.
Business thrived under George junior, and the family sold out profitably to the firm of Barclay and McKinlay in 1919. Building on the reputation and goodwill of the "Ballantine's" name, the new owners focused on developing it as a brand for their blended whiskys. When increasing resources were needed to compete fully in the growing world market, the internationally experienced Canadian distilling concern of Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts acquired Ballantine's in 1937. The same year the company received the Grant of Heraldic Arms featured on their bottles, recognising George Ballantine & Son as an "incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland".
The new owners' first task was to secure fillings, to which end the Miltonduff and Glenburgie Distilleries were purchased, and a massive new grain distillery – the largest in Europe – built at Dumbarton. During the 1960s the company turned to Europe - at that time an unexplored market for Scotch whisky – and by 1965 had secured such a strong foothold there that it resolved to gear the home trade to supporting the overseas business.
Strong distribution and the popularity of Scotch whisky in the mid-1980s were key influencers in growth. Ballantine's was named the number one brand in Europe and the third largest in the world in 1986 with the oldest product Ballantine's Finest. In Korea, Ballantine's is the clear number one in the super-premium category with its ever-popular Ballantine's 17 in addition to 21 and 30. In 1988, the Company became part of the global beverage conglomerate Allied Domecq.
In 2002 the large Dumbarton Grain distillery was mothballed, with production shifting to the Strathclyde Grain distillery in the Gorbals of Glasgow. In 2005 Ballantine's was acquired by Pernod Ricard. Ballantines still maintain a large bonded warehouse complex in Dumbarton East and a bottling plant to the North of the town.
In 2006, Sandy Hyslop was appointed as Ballantine's Master Blender – the 5th Master Blender in Ballantine's 180-year history.