Matthew Gloag & Son Profile

From small beginnings as a licenced grocer in Perth, four generations of the Gloag family created a large whisky blending and bottling business, based around the Famous Grouse brand. That was until death duties forced the sale of the company to Highland Distilleries Co. Ltd, now part of Edrington. 

Matthew Gloag & Son History

Born in 1797, the young Matthew Gloag found employment in service to a local member of the judiciary.

Upon marrying, he and his wife, Margaret, set up home in an apartment above a licenced grocer on Atholl Street in Perth. When the shop became vacant in 1824, Margaret took it over while Gloag continued to work in service and 10 years later, he joined her in the business.

Soon after, Matthew added whisky sales to the company, approaching Highland distilleries directly to purchase his stocks. On his death, in 1860, his son William Brown Gloag purchased the business using his inheritance as capital. Under his leadership the company began to develop the whisky blending element of the business and in 1887 he became one of the original shareholders of the North British distillery in Edinburgh, in order to secure his supply of grain whisky.

In 1896 the company adopted the red grouse (a Scottish game bird) as its motif and the whisky became known as Gloag’s Grouse brand. As its popularity grew the blend was re-branded as The Famous Grouse.

At this stage, Matthew’s grandson, also named Matthew, was in charge of the business and by the time he retired in 1910 the company’s major activity was whisky blending.

On his retirement Matthew’s son William ‘Willie’ Gloag took over the company, continuing to develop and expand sales of The Famous Grouse brand. One result of this expansion was the addition of a bonded warehouse and bottling plant to the Perth site in 1935.

After working for the family firm for a number of years, Matthew’s son Fred ‘Freddie’ Gloag became chairman of the company in 1947 making him the fourth generation of the family to run the business.

His sudden and untimely death in 1970 raised an unexpected ‘double death duty’ tax on his estate. In order to pay this bill, the family were forced to put the company up for sale and that same year the business was sold to the Highland Distilleries Co. Ltd.

In 1999, control of Highland Distilleries Co. Ltd. was passed to one of its shareholders, the Edrington Group.

Distilleries & Brands


The Edrington Group Limited
2500 Great Western Road
G15 6RW
United Kingdom
+44 141 940 4000

See also

  • Glenrothes Glenrothes Glenrothes Distillery & brand


    Speyside vintage-focused distillery.

  • Glenturret Glenturret Glenturret Distillery & brand


    Small farm-style distillery.

  • Highland Park Highland Park Highland Park Distillery & brand

    Highland Park

    Orcadian distillery owned by Edrington.

  • Macallan Macallan Macallan Distillery & brand


    Speyside powerhouse with a luxury focus.

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