William Grant & Sons
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|Headquarters||Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, UK|
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 by William Grant, and is run by Grant's descendants as of 2018. It is the largest of the handful of Scotch whisky distillers remaining in family ownership.
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. The first and second largest, respectively, are Diageo (34.4%), and Pernod Ricard. The company is registered at The Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown. 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.
The master blender of Grant's is Brian Kinsman, who succeeded David Stewart who had been in his post for 47 years, the longest serving master blender with one distiller in the industry.
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.
William Grant & Sons has won the Queen's Award to Industry for Outstanding Export Achievement, as well as awards from drinks industry competitions and magazines.
Distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons:
- Glenfiddich Distillery
- Balvenie Distillery
- Girvan Grain Distillery
- Kininvie Distillery
- Ailsa Bay Distillery
- Tullamore Distillery (Ireland)
- Convalmore is a former whisky distillery in Dufftown, closing operations in 1985. William Grant & Sons bought the distillery in 1990, for the warehouses, to increase warehousing capacity for Glenfiddich. The Convalmore distillery produced whisky for other brands. The name Convalmore however is used for selected whiskies, although the distillery never produced a whisky under their own name. The brandname is owned by Diageo.
William Grant was born in Dufftown in 1839. In 1886, Grant and his nine children started construction of Glenfiddich Distillery. On Christmas Day, 1887, the distillery was operational. In 1892, William Grant & Sons built a second neighbouring distillery called Balvenie. In 1898, the two distilleries started blending their whiskies. William Grant & Sons pioneered single malt Scotch whisky as, until Glenfiddich, only blended brands were common.
In 1997, the Grant entered into a joint venture with the Robertson family (see The Edrington Group) creating a new company, Highland Distillers. In May 2010 the group bought four brands from C&C Group, including Tullamore D.E.W., for €300m. 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. The current chairman of William Grant & Sons is Glenn Gordon (since 2012). The Gordons are direct descendants of William Grant. Many distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons are located in Dufftown. William Grant & Sons is the largest employer in the town.
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.
In that same month, William Grant & Sons closed all of its visitor centres indefinitely due to the same pandemic. In June 2020, the company made the decision to reopen some of its visitor centres with increased hygiene measures.
The company's leading single malt Scotch brand is Glenfiddich, the best-selling single malt Scotch in the world as of 2016. 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). 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. Another very popular blended whisky is Monkey Shoulder.
William Grant & Sons brands include:
- Scotch whisky: Glen Fohdry, Glenfiddich, Grant's, The Balvenie, Kininvie, Monkey Shoulder, Aerstone, Clan MacGregor, House of Hazelwood, The Gordon Highlanders
- Irish whiskey: Tullamore D.E.W.
- Gin: Hendrick's
- Vodka: Reyka, Russian Standard
- Rum: Sailor Jerry, Old Vatted Demerara, Woods Old Navy, Vat 19, Flor de Caña (US Import)
- Canadian whisky: Gibson’s Finest
- Mixed drinks: Taboo
- Mezcal: Montelobos
- Tequila: Milagro
- Liqueur: Drambuie, Solerno, Ancho Reyes, Ancho Reyes Verde
- Brandy: Three Barrels, The Raynal
- Other: Art In the Age Craft Spirits
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)
Highland Distillers brands
Typical products owned by Highland Distillers at that time:
- The Famous Grouse, brandname now owned by Edrington
- The Macallan, brandname now owned by Edrington
- Highland Park, brandname now owned by Edrington
- Black Bottle, this brand was sold subsequently to Burn Stewart Distillers in 2004
- Gloag's London Dry Gin, brandname owned by Edrington
- "Welcome". William Grant & Sons. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- "Scotland's richest billionaires revealed". BBC News. 2018-05-12. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- "Scotch on the Rocks—How Trump's Trade Tariffs Could Harm a Favorite Nightcap". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- Top 15 Scotch whisky companies
- "William Grant donates CA$25k to help Canadian bartenders". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- "Top 15 Scotch whisky companies | WhiskyInvestDirect". www.whiskyinvestdirect.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- Schrieberg, Felipe. "The 4 Companies Behind 3/4 Of All Scotch Whisky Production". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- "William Grant & Sons Global Brands | Distiller of Premium Spirits". www.williamgrant.com.
- "Members Directory". Scotch Whisky Association. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- "The Brian Kinsman Interview | WhiskyCast". whiskycast.com. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
- "William Grant's Kinsman: 'We need blended Scotch to be relevant'". Retrieved 2020-05-15.
- "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.
- "Scottish independence: Distiller William Grant and Sons donates to Better Together". BBC News. BBC. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- "William Grant unveils 'experimental' Kininvie whiskies". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- Schrieberg, Felipe. "Ailsa Bay Releases Blockchain-Protected Scotch Whisky". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- "William Grant to make 5m litres of alcohol for hand sanitiser". Retrieved 2020-07-31.
- "William Grant closes Glenfiddich and Balvenie to public". Retrieved 2020-07-31.
- "Our Visitor Centres in Scotland and Ireland are open | William Grant & Sons". www.williamgrant.com. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
- World's Bestselling Single Malt Whisky Undergoes Risky Change
- Top 10 Best Selling Whiskies
- Top 15 Scotch Whisky Companies
- https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/features/20833/top-10-best-selling-scotch-whiskies/ TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SCOTCH WHISKIES
- TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SCOTCH WHISKIES
- "William Grant & Sons | Scotch Whisky". scotchwhisky.com.