1820 - The revolt of the Grant Clan

In 1820, James Grant helped lead the “Raid on Elgin”, the last clan revolt in Scottish history. Legend has it that the men of the Grant Clan were furious at the news that their chief and his family were practically under house arrest by the people of the Elgin lowlands. James Grant marched among his 700 clansmen wearing an 1819 Wilsons of Bannockburn tartan waistcoat, today proudly on display at the distillery.

James Grant
Glen Grant is founded

In 1840 brothers John and James Grant applied for a distillery license. With the sea and the port of Garmouth nearby, the River Spey to the south, and surrounded by barley-growing plains, all the basic ingredients for malt whisky were close at hand.

Glen Grant runs quickly

Grant was heavily involved in the construction of the first Northern railroad; as a result, in 1851 one of the locomotives on the Lossimouth-Elgin-Rothes line was named Glen Grant.

A new “Glen Grant”

By 1872, the founders of the Glen Grant Distillery had died. Young James “The Major” Grant, born in 1847, had always taken a keen interest in the distillery; having inherited the business and the title “Glen Grant” from his uncle John Grant, he was to prove himself a worthy successor.

James Cumming
Boom and expansion

A legendary inventor, socialiser, and traveller, “The Major”, was fascinated by new ideas and wasn’t afraid to explore them. He was the first man in the Highlands to own a car. Glen Grant was the first distillery to have electric light, and he introduced the tall slender sills and purifiers which created the fresh malty flavour and the clear colour that defines the whisky to this day.

Music and Whisky

In Scotland, music and Scotch Whisky have always been connected. So much so that the famous Scottish violinist Scott Skinner (1843-1927) composed music for the violin as a tribute to the Glen Grant distillery and its Malt Whisky. The Strathspey (a lively Scottish dance) titled “Glen Grant” was composed on 24 April 1909.

An end and a beginning

In 1931, Major Grant, the last Glen Grant, died; he was survived by three daughters and a distillery which had become one of the most famous in the world. Douglas MacKessack, his grandson, was to become his successor.

James Smith
Ernest Sherret
The family expands

In 1972, the Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd merged with Hill, Thomson and Co. Ltd, and Longmorn Distilleries Ltd to form Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The original family interest in the distilleries was maintained, together with two substantial outside shareholders: Courage Ltd, for the fermentation process, and Suntory Ltd, the Japanese distilling company.

Dennis Malcolm
Willie Mearns
Robert MacPherson
Hamish Proctor
Dennis Malcolm
A new chapter

In 2006, Campari acquired Glen Grant (its only whisky) when Allied Domecq was acquired by Pernod Ricard. To this day, Glen Grant is still one of the biggest selling Single Malts in the world; its story continues on in Speyside according to the same standards and traditions of the Glen Grant family and its descendants.