William Grant & Sons, makers of Glenfiddich whisky, have bought a craft distillery in New York state. The Speyside family firm has bought Tuthilltown Spirits, maker of Hudson whiskey. The 36-acre site on the banks of the Hudson River includes a visitor centre and gourmet restaurant. Grant’s bought the Hudson Whiskey brand in 2010, while the founders of the distillery continued to market gin, vodka and other spirits. The acquisition of the distillery is the Scottish firm’s first move into America’s booming craft distilling sector. It makes rye, corn and bourbon whiskeys, as well as single malt. In addition to its blended whiskies branded with the Grant’s name, it has Glenfiddich and Balvenie single malts, Drambuie, Hendrick’s Gin brand, Sailer Jerry Spiced Rum and Three Barrels and Raynal brandy. It owns Tullamore whiskey in Ireland, and Milagro tequila distillers in Mexico.
William Grant & Sons reported a rise in sales and profits, following good performances from its core brands. The firm’s turnover was just over £1bn in 2016 to almost £1.2bn last year, with pre-tax profits rising to £304m. It attributed much of the growth to increased sales of its Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s and The Balvenie brands. Growth was largely recorded across North America, Asia and Europe. Earlier this week, Grant’s announced the expansion of its Hendrick’s Gin distillery in Girvan, South Ayrshire. Who was it who said “Och there’s no money to be made making whisky”?
Grant’s seem to be going from strength to strength, even better than recent Edrington (Macallan) ideas. They too are expanding at Dufftown, in addition to recent purchases and Hendricks. So what are they planning? An additional 30+ stills, giving Glenfiddich the space to double its output. The distillery currently operates 32 stills and has an annual production capacity of 13 million litres of pure alcohol. Plans include the building for 24 washbacks and three new mash tuns. Glenfiddich’s position as the world’s largest selling single malt Scotch whisky was overthrown by Speyside rival The Glenlivet earlier this year. The Chivas Brothers-owned brand achieved annual sales of 1.06 million cases in 2014, just inching ahead of Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich is not the only distillery planning to increase its production capacity. Chivas Brothers outlined plans to develop The Glenlivet. Glenfid have not announced any price tag or timetable. It’s all go in the world of whisky!