The Glenfiddich distillery is a Speyside whisky distillery in the glen of the River Fiddich, Dufftown, Scotland, owned by William Grant & Sons.
William Grant was born on 19 December 1839 in his father’s house in Dufftown. At seven he began herding cattle at a farm on the upper reaches of the River Deveron. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker then worked as a clerk, and then became a bookkeeper at Mortlach distillery 1866. There he was appointed as a clerk and then manager and learned the distilling trade.
After about twenty years, Grant left his job at the Mortlach distillery and bought a field near Balvenie Castle. He then drew up plans for his first distillery, and the foundation stone was laid in the autumn of 1886.
In 1887 on Christmas Day the first distillation took place at the Glenfiddich Distillery.
The distillery went on to be one of the most successful in the world.
In the 1920s, with prohibition in force in the USA, Glenfiddich was one of a very small number of distilleries to increase production. This put them in a strong position to meet the sudden rise in demand for fine aged whiskies that came with the repeal of prohibition.
Grant remained active in the company until his death in 1923 at the age of 83.
Some archive footage entitled The Water of Life from the 1970’s describes the establishment of the Glenfiddich Distillery and the whisky making processes used can be viewed here.