William Grant & Sons

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William Grant & Sons
IndustryAlcohol industry
Founded1887; 135 years ago (1887)
FounderWilliam Grant
HeadquartersBellshill, North Lanarkshire, UK
ProductsAlcoholic drinks

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]


William Grant was born in Dufftown in 1839. In 1886, Grant and his nine children started construction of Glenfiddich Distillery.[citation needed] On Christmas Day, 1887, the distillery was operational. 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, 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]

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.[14]

In that same month, William Grant & Sons closed all of its visitor centres indefinitely due to the same pandemic.[15] In June 2020, the company made the decision to reopen some of its visitor centres with increased hygiene measures.[16]


Distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons:


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][4] 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.[22] Another very popular blended whisky is Monkey Shoulder.[21]

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 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[24] 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]


  1. ^ "Welcome". William Grant & Sons. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Scotland's richest billionaires revealed". BBC News. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Scotch on the Rocks—How Trump's Trade Tariffs Could Harm a Favorite Nightcap". Fortune. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Top 15 Scotch whisky companies | WhiskyInvestDirect". www.whiskyinvestdirect.com.
  5. ^ a b c "William Grant donates CA$25k to help Canadian bartenders". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Top 15 Scotch whisky companies | WhiskyInvestDirect". www.whiskyinvestdirect.com. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ Schrieberg, Felipe. "The 4 Companies Behind 3/4 Of All Scotch Whisky Production". Forbes. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  8. ^ "William Grant & Sons Global Brands | Distiller of Premium Spirits". www.williamgrant.com.
  9. ^ "Members Directory". Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ "The Brian Kinsman Interview | WhiskyCast". whiskycast.com. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. ^ "William Grant's Kinsman: 'We need blended Scotch to be relevant'". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Celebrating the unexpected: The Balvenie presents the fourth chapter of The Balvenie DCS Compendium". The Moodie Davitt Report. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Scottish independence: Distiller William Grant and Sons donates to Better Together". BBC News. BBC. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  14. ^ "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  15. ^ "William Grant closes Glenfiddich and Balvenie to public". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Our Visitor Centres in Scotland and Ireland are open | William Grant & Sons". www.williamgrant.com. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  17. ^ Schrieberg, Felipe. "Ailsa Bay Releases Blockchain-Protected Scotch Whisky". Forbes. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  18. ^ a b "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  19. ^ "William Grant unveils 'experimental' Kininvie whiskies". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  20. ^ Koutsakis, George. "World's Bestselling Single Malt Whisky Undergoes Risky Change". Forbes.
  21. ^ a b "Top 10 best-selling Scotch malt whiskies | Scotch Whisky". scotchwhisky.com.
  22. ^ https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/features/20833/top-10-best-selling-scotch-whiskies/ TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SCOTCH WHISKIES
  23. ^ "William Grant to produce Cognac with Robicquet". thespiritsbusiness.com. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  24. ^ "William Grant & Sons | Scotch Whisky". scotchwhisky.com.

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