Glenfiddich is Gaelic for the ‘valley of the deer’. The valley in question surrounds the river Fiddich in the Spey region. The founder of Glenfiddich was William Grant. After having worked for almost 20 years at Mortlach Distillery William Grant decided to go into business on his own. In 1886 he therefore quit his job as Manager of Mortlach and invested £120 in used equipment which he bought from the Cardow Distillery. William and his family virtually built the distillery with their own hands. Due to both good timing and luck William managed to amass quite a bit of capital, and in 1892 he was able to build a new distillery close by. The new distillery was named Balvenie.
The Grant family has made several clever business decisions during the years that at least partly explain why Glenfiddich now is the biggest selling single malt brand in the world. For example, Glenfiddich did not cut back production during the Prohibition. Instead they increased it to build up their supplies since they believed the US market would explode as the prohibition was lifted. History tells us they were right. There were only four other distilleries apart from Glenfiddich and Balvenie that kept running in Scotland at the time. Another example of their good business sense is that Glenfiddich was among the first distilleries to sell their single malt in England and in Wales. They also established offices early in key cities throughout Britain in order to boost their sales. In fact, an office was opened in Glasgow already in the beginning of the 20th century.
The Grant family has also been very successful with their marketing strategies. One example is the triangular bottle which was launched in 1957. Today Glenfiddich is the largest single malt brand in the world. Glenfiddich is also one of very few Scottish distilleries that still remain in the hands of the descendants of its founders.
Production at Glenfiddich
Glenfiddich use water from the spring Robbie Dhu. They buy their malt lightly peated from several suppliers. The two mash tuns are made from copper and hold 10 tons each. Their 24 wooden washbacks are all made from pinewood. The distillery has an impressive number of 30 pot stills. The Wash stills are lantern-shaped and the spirit stills are all of the Boiling Ball-model. All spirit stills are directly heated with coal.
Bourbon casks are most commonly used for storage and maturation, although sherry casks are also used frequently. The filled casks are stored on the grounds in traditional dunnage warehouses. At any given time there are approximately 250 000 casks in maturation at Glenfiddich. The bottling is done on-site.
The Glenfiddich Distillery
Phone: +44 (0) 1340 820 373
Fax: +44 (0)
Manager: Grant Sayers
Visitors: Open all year round Monday-Friday and Saturday between 9.30am-4.30pm. Between Easter-October it is also open Sundays 9.30am-4.30pm. Admission is free. A movie is shown 20 minutes before the regular daily tours. Glenfiddich have many visitors and usually keep the size of the groups around 10 people depending on the nationality of the visitors. Tours which include the complete production process are finished with a tasting of the Glenfiddich’s 12 year-old. The on-site gift shop has a wide selection.
Owner: William Grants & Sons Ltd