William Grant (businessman)

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William Grant (1839-1923) was a Scottish distiller and entrepreneur who founded William Grant & Sons, the manufacturer of Glenfiddich, one of the first single-malt whiskies, and a leading brand today.

Grant was descended from Clan Grant, which arrived in Speyside after being rewarded with land for "services to the king".[1] In 1745, three brothers fought in the Jacobite rebellion against Hanover. Alexander Grant survived the Battle of Culloden but had to flee to Banffshire where he was hidden by a clan chief.

On 19 December 1839, Alexander Grant's great-grandson, William Grant, was born in Dufftown, Scotland. When he was seven he began herding the family cattle in the hills. He then worked as an apprentice shoemaker and a limeworks employee. He did, however, receive a good education. Consequently, in 1866 he became a bookkeeper at the local Mortlach Distillery. He gained an appreciation for the production of whisky and became manager of the distillery, where he worked for 20 years. His wife, Elizabeth, had nine children.

William Grant died in 1923. In the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List, his family were ranked 86th richest in the UK, and 3rd richest in Scotland.[2]

See also


  1. William Grant & Sons Ltd The Grant's Story - Early Years accessed 14 November 2008
  2. Sunday Time Rich List 2007 The Grant and Gordon Family, accessed 14 November 2008