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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

William Grant & Sons

Scotch Whisky

The History Of  William Grants  Scotch whisky

William Grant, the Company founder, was a man of vision and foresight. His determination to distil the ‘best dram in the valley’ has proved to be an enduring legacy to his descendants who, five generations later, continue to run the Company - which remains an independent family distiller – and adhere to his high standards of quality and craftsmanship.


Today, William Grant & Sons Ltd is one of the world’s leading Scotch whisky distillers and has been distilling Grant’s Scotch whisky, the world’s fourth largest Scotch whisky brand, for more than 100 years.


Company  History

1839 The founder, William Grant is born in Dufftown, Speyside in the Highlands of Scotland.


1886 William Grant, his wife and his 9 children build The Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown.


1887 Christmas Day: the first drop of spirit runs from the stills at The Glenfiddich Distillery


1892 The Balvenie Distillery is founded by William Grant and built next to the Glenfiddich site in Dufftown

1898 William Grant begins to blend Scotch whisky and the Grant’s blend is born.


(The birth of Grant’s Scotch Whisky followed The Pattison Crash, the bankruptcy of one of Britain’s key blenders and wholesale merchants, and, at that time, the largest purchaser of William Grant & Sons’ single malt Scotch whiskies Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. William Grant grasped the opportunity to become blender, bottler and wholesaler in one)


Charles Gordon (the founder’s son-in-law) makes first sale of the new Grant’s blend.


1905 John Grant (William’s son) sells the family whisky to the Hudson Bay Company of Canada.


1909 Charles Gordon travels the globe and exports begin for Grant’s Scotch whisky.


1914 William Grant & Sons has now established 60 agencies in 30 countries worldwide to sell Grant’s Scotch whisky


1945 Current Master Blender of Grant’s, David Stewart, is born in Ayr, Scotland.


1957 Grant’s Scotch whisky is first packaged in the now famous triangular bottle; the only Scotch in a triangular bottle.


1962 David Stewart joins William Grant & Sons as Apprentice Blender, becoming the company’s Master Blender 7 years later.


1963 Due to increased demand and popularity for Grant’s, William Grant & Sons builds its own grain distillery in Girvan, Ayrshire, which becomes the home of Grant’s Scotch whisky.


1964 The first grain spirit from the stills at The Girvan Distillery begins its maturation.


The famous ‘As long as you’re up, get me a Grant’s’ advertising campaign parodied by NY Times and Playboy Magazine.


1999 William Grant & Sons receives industry’s top accolade ‘Distiller of the Year’ by the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 1999


2000 William Grant & Sons receives the IWSC Distiller of the Year accolade for an unprecedented second year in a row.


2001 William Grant & Sons receives the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Distiller of the Year accolade

The Grant’s Cask Reserves – Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve and Grant’s Sherry Cask Reserve – are launched, and Grant’s becomes the first blended Scotch whisky to be given wood ‘finishes’ (further matured in different types of casks).


2002 The Grant’s ‘Our Passion. Your Pleasure.’ international advertising campaign is launched worldwide.

David Stewart, the Master Blender, celebrates 40 years at William Grant & Sons Ltd, becoming the longest serving Master Blender with one distiller in the industry.


2003 The Grant’s Cask Selection range is launched – a new dimension to premium blended Scotch whisky – comprising Grant’s Premium 12 and Grant’s Rare Old 18 – deluxe whiskies finished in first fill bourbon casks and port pipes. They are the first premium blended whiskies to be doubly matured


Today Grant’s Family Reserve sells 4 million cases in 180 countries worldwide and confirms its position as the world’s fourth largest Scotch whisky brand.


Principle Brands 

Deluxe Scotch whisky blends

Grant’s Family Reserve,

Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve,

Grant’s Sherry Cask Reserve

Grant's Distillery Edition

Grant's 12 year old Bourbon Cask

Grant's 15 year old

Grant’s Rare Old 18 Cask Selection.

Grant's 25 year old

Grant's 100 US Proof

William Grants Whisky Logo W.Grants Blends Notes W.Grants Blends Notes

PR Department

William Grant & Sons

Independence House

84 Lower Mortlake Road




United Kingdom

T: +44 (0) 208 332 1188