John Grant was a well-known cattle breeder who bought the Glenfarclas distillery and Recherlich farm in 1865. The land was an ideal halfway staging post between his existing farm in Glenlivet, and the cattle market in nearby Elgin.
The distillery was purchased for £511.19sd. Since farming was John’s priority, he let the distillery to John Smith, who later established Cragganmore distillery. However, during this time, the cattle drovers and workmen certainly enjoyed the sustenance of a dram of Glenfarclas!
In 1830 John Grant had a son, George, who was later to take over the farm and distillery in 1889. Sadly, George passed away not long afterwards. Subsequently, the licence for the distillery was passed on to George’s widow Elsie. She then appointed her two eldest children, John and George, to take care of the business.
John Grant sent his son George to look after
Rechlerich Farm while he sub-let the Glenfarclas distillery
to a distant cousin, John Smith.
In 1870, John Smith left to build Cragganmore distillery and John Grant took his son into partnership. This was also the year that George married Elsie Gordon, and they went on to have five children, including two sons called John and George.
In 1889, John Grant passed away, leaving George to run
both the distillery and the farm. Sadly, a year later George
also passed away, leaving the licence to his widow and
his two eldest sons, John and George.
In the 1890’s, George and his brother formed the Glenfarclas-Glenlivet distillery company, with Pattisons of Leith. They held a 50% interest, but it was to prove to be a troublesome partnership, one which eventually dissolved. This left John and George in a predicament, and it took 15 years of hard work and family commitment to rebuild financial stability. However they were not disheartened and formed their own company, J.& G. Grant.
Following this turbulent time, the Spirit of Independence was born. The family are committed to this principle, and are proud that Glenfarclas continues to prosper as an independent family owned and managed company.
In 1921, George married Jessie Stuart Scott and they had two sons, George Scott Grant, and John Peter Grant.
The 1920’s saw the retirement of John Grant, and George continued to run the distillery.
George S Grant
The early years of George’s tenure as custodian of the distillery were a period of rapid growth and expansion. At this time production doubled due to high demand from the blenders.
The repeal of the 1880’s Spirits Act, along with the eventual relaxation of wartime barley rationing, allowed production to increase significantly during the 1950s.
By the late 1960s demand for whisky began to decrease, and Glenfarclas lost a major blending contract from their most important customer. George made the shrewd decision to lay down more stock for the distillery’s own bottlings, rather than rely so heavily on the blenders. Thanks to his foresight, Glenfarclas has an abundance of aged stocks which continue to be sold around the world as part of The Family Casks collection.
George S. Grant was to remain the Chairman of the company for an incredible 52 years.
John LS Grant
Throughout the 1970s the distillery continued to prosper. The unique Visitor Centre opened in 1973, and a year later George’s son John joined the business. New blending contracts were signed, and the distillery was significantly expanded.
1986 marked the 150th anniversary of legal distilling at Glenfarclas, and sales were booming. Single Malt sales had grown by a quarter, and production increased again the following year.
John was appointed as Chairman in 2002, and continues to live and work at the heart of the distillery today.
Now in the equally safe hands of the fifth generation of the family, the Grants remain committed to the original vision; creating the finest quality Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the traditional Speyside way.