The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant, who wanted to build a new distillery in order to help his other distillery at Glenfiddich to meet consumer demand. Glenfiddich had opened six years earlier and its whisky was proving extremely popular, so Grant decided to renovate nearby Balvenie House and its outbuildings. He bought and installed equipment that was deemed surplus at the Lagavulin and Glen Albyn distilleries. The distillery’s success was almost instantaneous, following on from Glenfiddich’s impressive start.
Most of the whisky produced at Balvenie was put towards Grant & Sons range of blended whiskies, especially Grant’s which has been one of the UK’s and the world’s top selling blends for many years. Regular single malt releases only really became common in the early 1970’s and the reputation of its sweet, creamy, rich whisky grew rapidly. This popularity led Grant & Sons to build another distillery next door and Kininvie started production in 1990. Kininvie was built solely to take the weight off Balvenie and Glenfiddich and everything produced there goes towards the Grant’s blended range. Balvenie and Glenfiddich now concerntrate on meeting demand for their single malts, with only a small percentage now going to Grant’s new blend called Monkey Shoulder. Balvenie remains under the ownership of the Grant family, making William Grant & Sons one of the longest single family ownerships in the world.