The Famous Grouse
|Country of origin||Scotland|
|Alcohol by volume||40%|
|Variants||The Black Grouse
|Related products||Highland Park
The Famous Grouse is a brand of blended Scotch whisky, first produced by Matthew Gloag & Son in 1896, and currently produced and owned by The Edrington Group. The single malt whiskies used in The Famous Grouse blend include the Edrington owned Highland Park and The Macallan. Its emblem is the Red Grouse, Scotland's national game bird.
It has been the highest selling whisky in Scotland since 1980. As a standard price blended Scotch whisky, its main competitors in its home market are Bell's, Teacher's and Grant's. The majority of its UK sales are during the Christmas period.
Matthew Gloag was a grocer and wine merchant in Perth, Scotland. Gloag purchased whiskies from distilleries around Scotland, and when Queen Victoria visited Perth in 1842, he was invited to supply the wines for the royal banquet.
In 1860, his son, William Gloag, took over the company and began producing blended whiskies. In 1896, William's nephew, also named Matthew after his grandfather, took over the company. He created The Grouse Brand blend in 1896, which due to its popularity, was renamed "The Famous Grouse" in 1905. Matthew Gloag's daughter Phillippa first designed the label's grouse icon.
In 1970, Matthew Gloag & Son, owned by the Gloag family, was sold to Highland Distillers, after the death of the chairman, Matthew Frederick Gloag. The marketing and distributive power of the company saw Famous Grouse become the highest selling Scotch in Scotland by 1980 and the second highest selling in the United Kingdom. From the 1980s the brand began to be exported overseas, where it now sells over 2 million cases annually. In 1984 The Famous Grouse was awarded the Royal Warrant.
The blend is matured in oak casks for up to six months at 46% ABV.
In 2007 a peated special version of The Famous Grouse called The Black Grouse developed for the Swedish market was released. The packaging displays a black grouse in place of the usual red grouse. The following year a special version, meant for chilling, was released called Snow Grouse. The packaging features a ptarmigan.
Promotions and sponsorships
The Famous Grouse was the primary sponsor of the Perth-based football team St. Johnstone between 1986 and 1989 and again between 1991 and 1998. It also sponsored the Scotland national rugby union team from 1990 until 2007, and is now 'The Official Spirit of Scottish Rugby', making this one of the longest running sports sponsorships in the UK.
In May 2014, Famous Grouse were named the Official Whisky of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
In popular culture
- The Famous Grouse is the drink of choice for several characters in The Corps, a series of novels by W. E. B. Griffin.
- The Famous Grouse Experience is located at the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff, Perthshire.
- The Famous Grouse is the drink of choice of Kirsten's Uncle Sean in episode 20 of The O.C..
- The Famous Grouse is ordered by Hank Dalworth in episode 10 of Terriers.
- In the movie, The Iron Lady, The Famous Grouse is Margaret Thatcher's (played by Meryl Streep) choice of drink.
- In Hugh Laurie's novel The Gun Seller, the protagonist Lang waters down his Famous Grouse to a "Vaguely Familiar Grouse" and later to an "I'm Sure I've Seen That Grouse Somewhere Before".
- In Ian Rankin's thriller novels, "the Grouse" is the favorite tipple of the protagonist, Detective-Inspector Rebus.
- Whisky Opus. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2012. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-4093-7580-7.
- "Famous Grouse gears up for Xmas ad campaign". Morning Advertiser. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
-  (Swedish).
- "Maxxium accelerates into summer". Talking Retail. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Buxton, Ian (2012). The Famous Grouse Whisky Companion: Heritage, History, Recipes and Drinks. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0091944742.