William Grant & Sons

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William Grant & Sons
IndustryAlcohol industry
Founded1887; 134 years ago (1887)
FounderWilliam Grant
HeadquartersBellshill, North Lanarkshire, UK
ProductsAlcoholic drinks
Websitewilliamgrant.com

William Grant & Sons Ltd is an independent, family-owned Scottish company that distills Scotch whisky and other selected categories of spirits. It was established in 1887[1] by William Grant, and is run by Grant's descendants as of 2018.[2] It is the largest of the handful of Scotch whisky distillers remaining in family ownership.[3]

The company is the third largest producer of Scotch whisky (8% market share), shipping about 7.6 million cases per year, with brands including Glenfiddich and Balvenie.[4][5] The first and second largest, respectively, are Diageo (34.4%), and Pernod Ricard.[6][7] The company is registered at The Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown.[8] The main operational headquarters are located at Strathclyde Business Park, North Lanarkshire. Sales and marketing headquarters are in Richmond, London. The company is a member of the Scotch Whisky Association.[9][3]

The master blender of Grant's is Brian Kinsman,[10][11] who succeeded David Stewart who had been in his post for 47 years, the longest serving master blender with one distiller in the industry.[12][citation needed]

In July 2014 it was reported that Grant's donated "in the region of £100,000" to the unionist campaign group Better Together, with the company being "said to have also donated smaller sums of money to other groups who are campaigning for a 'No' vote," ahead of the Scottish independence referendum.[13]

William Grant & Sons has won the Queen's Award to Industry for Outstanding Export Achievement,[citation needed] as well as awards from drinks industry competitions[citation needed] and magazines.[citation needed]

Distilleries[edit]

Distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons:

History[edit]

William Grant was born in Dufftown in 1839.[citation needed] In 1886, Grant and his nine children started construction of Glenfiddich Distillery.[citation needed] On Christmas Day, 1887, the distillery was operational.[citation needed] In 1892, William Grant & Sons built a second neighbouring distillery called Balvenie.[citation needed] In 1898, the two distilleries started blending their whiskies.[citation needed] William Grant & Sons pioneered single malt Scotch whisky as, until Glenfiddich, only blended brands were common.[citation needed]

In 1997, the Grant entered into a joint venture with the Robertson family (see The Edrington Group) creating a new company, Highland Distillers.[citation needed] In May 2010 the group bought four brands from C&C Group, including Tullamore D.E.W., for €300m.[citation needed] In September 2010 they sold the three minor brands (Irish Mist, Carolans, Frangelico) to Gruppo Campari for 129m euro, so in effect Grants paid €171m for the Tullamore D.E.W. brand and its production facilities.[citation needed] The current chairman of William Grant & Sons is Glenn Gordon (since 2012).[citation needed] The Gordons are direct descendants of William Grant.[citation needed] Many distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons are located in Dufftown.[citation needed] William Grant & Sons is the largest employer in the town.[citation needed]

In March 2020, the company made the decision to switch production at three of its distilleries to create approximately five million litres of ethanol over an eight week period to produce hand sanitiser during the Covid-19 pandemic.[17]

In that same month, William Grant & Sons closed all of its visitor centres indefinitely due to the same pandemic.[18] In June 2020, the company made the decision to reopen some of its visitor centres with increased hygiene measures.[19]

Brands[edit]

The company's leading single malt Scotch brand is Glenfiddich, the best-selling single malt Scotch in the world as of 2016.[20] Roughly 1.22 million cases of Glenfiddich were sold in 2017. Another Grant single malt Scotch whisky also made the top ten list of best-selling Scotch whiskies in 2017: The Balvenie (#6).[21][22] The company's leading blended whisky, Grant's Family Reserve, was the number three best seller in this category, forcing competitor Chivas Regal into fourth place.[23] Another very popular blended whisky is Monkey Shoulder.[24]

William Grant & Sons brands include:

Rare whiskies[edit]

William Grant & Sons produces a number of rare whiskies, most of which are described in the articles on Glenfiddich, Grant's and Balvenie. However, their rare whiskies also include:

  • Girvan First Batch Distillation (from casks filled in 1964)
  • Ladyburn (from Ladyburn distillery, closed in 1975)
  • Snow Phoenix (a one-off by Glenfiddich produced as a blend of all the whisky—between three and 50 years in age—recovered after a heavy snow destroyed a warehouse where the whisky was being aged)

Other rare whiskies have been bottled as private vintages for Concorde, Queen Mary 2 and the Royal Danish Wedding.

Highland Distillers brands[edit]

William Grant & Sons and the Edrington Group took Highland Distillers private in 1999[25] forming the 1887 Company, in which William Grant and Sons hold a 30% stake.

Typical products owned by Highland Distillers at that time:

Other brands[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welcome". William Grant & Sons. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Scotland's richest billionaires revealed". BBC News. 2018-05-12. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  3. ^ a b "Scotch on the Rocks—How Trump's Trade Tariffs Could Harm a Favorite Nightcap". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  4. ^ a b c Top 15 Scotch whisky companies
  5. ^ a b c "William Grant donates CA$25k to help Canadian bartenders". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  6. ^ "Top 15 Scotch whisky companies | WhiskyInvestDirect". www.whiskyinvestdirect.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  7. ^ Schrieberg, Felipe. "The 4 Companies Behind 3/4 Of All Scotch Whisky Production". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  8. ^ "William Grant & Sons Global Brands | Distiller of Premium Spirits". www.williamgrant.com.
  9. ^ "Members Directory". Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  10. ^ "The Brian Kinsman Interview | WhiskyCast". whiskycast.com. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  11. ^ "William Grant's Kinsman: 'We need blended Scotch to be relevant'". Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  12. ^ "Celebrating the unexpected: The Balvenie presents the fourth chapter of The Balvenie DCS Compendium". The Moodie Davitt Report. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  13. ^ "Scottish independence: Distiller William Grant and Sons donates to Better Together". BBC News. BBC. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  14. ^ a b "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  15. ^ "William Grant unveils 'experimental' Kininvie whiskies". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  16. ^ Schrieberg, Felipe. "Ailsa Bay Releases Blockchain-Protected Scotch Whisky". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  17. ^ "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  18. ^ "William Grant closes Glenfiddich and Balvenie to public". Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  19. ^ "Our Visitor Centres in Scotland and Ireland are open | William Grant & Sons". www.williamgrant.com. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  20. ^ World's Bestselling Single Malt Whisky Undergoes Risky Change
  21. ^ Top 10 Best Selling Whiskies
  22. ^ Top 15 Scotch Whisky Companies
  23. ^ https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/features/20833/top-10-best-selling-scotch-whiskies/ TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SCOTCH WHISKIES
  24. ^ TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SCOTCH WHISKIES
  25. ^ "William Grant & Sons | Scotch Whisky". scotchwhisky.com.

External links[edit]