For 20 years William Grant nurtured a dream to make the ‘best dram in the valley’. With the help of his family, he finally achieved that vision. In the summer of 1886, with his seven sons and two daughters by his side, William set out to fulfill a lifelong ambition. Together they began building his Distillery by hand, stone by stone. After a single year of work it was ready and William named it Glenfiddich, Gaelic for Valley of the Deer. William’s passion, determination and pioneering spirit continues to guide us today. Glenfiddich is one of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family owned and is now the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a true reflection of our founder’s innovative nature, passed down through the generations.
The story of the building of Glenfiddich has the air of a Victorian fairy tale. It was in 1886 that William Grant of Dufftown decided to leave his position as manager of Mortlach and start up on his own. He had saved assiduously and, fortuitously, was starting his project just as Elizabeth Cumming was revamping Cardhu and replacing her old small stills. Along with his wife and nine children, William built his distillery near to the Fiddich river by hand. The first new make trickled out on Christmas Day, 1887. At a time when more distilleries had foundered than succeeded, and those which were being built tended to be bankrolled by brokers, bonders and blenders, his enterprise and stubborn belief was remarkable. He must have been a talented distiller, for his whole output was soon snapped up by Aberdeen blender and broker William Williams. Within 25 years, the family firm had 63 agencies internationally, proving them with their family blend, ‘Grant’s Standfast’. The firm is still wholly owned by the Grant family (now in its fifth generation), and has expanded to include three more malt distilleries [Balvenie, Kininvie and Ailsa Bay], a grain plant [Girvan] and other brands such as Monkey Shoulder and Hendrick’s gin. In 1963, after a dispute over grain supply (which prompted the firm to build the Girvan plant) the decision was made to bottle and promote Glenfiddich as a single malt, the first concerted effort to create a global malt brand.