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Auld Acrimony Profile

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Auld Acrimony, a 12-year-old Highland blended malt, was produced during the late 19080s/ early 1990s by Grant and Webster Distillers exclusively for British supermarket chain, Safeway. It was bottled at 40% abv but there are no records of its contents or flavour. It is now solely to be found at auction.

  • Production type
    Blended malt
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Auld Acrimony History

Auld Acrimony could have been a standard supermarket blended Scotch, or it may well have been a tongue-in-cheek product designed to satisfy the egos of two Safeway directors, Alastair Grant and David Webster.

Along with James Gulliver, the pair had founded what later became grocery business Argyll Foods. After Gulliver left the business in 1986 following a failed takeover bid for Distillers Company Ltd (DCL), Grant and Webster steered Argyll Foods to purchase the UK operations of US supermarket giant Safeway.

Auld Acrimony was launched not long after, produced by Grant and Webster Distillers (note: they never owned a distillery). Perhaps as a swipe at the failed DCL takeover, the label shows two rutting stags with entwined antlers, perhaps symbolic of Argyll Foods’ battle against Guinness plc, which eventually – infamously – succeeded in acquiring the DCL.

Along with Gulliver and merchant banker Angus Grossart, Grant and Webster had been heavily involved in the doomed bid and it could well be that Auld Acrimony was their parting shot at the whole sorry affair.

It should be noted, however, that Alastair Grant (later Sir Alastair) was a very keen country sportsman. Whatever the reasons for the brand’s existence, once it sold out it never reappeared.

Safeway was eventually sold to Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc in 2003.

Timeline

  • 1977 Argyll Foods is established as James Gulliver Associates
  • 1986 The group makes a bid for DCL, but loses out to Guinness plc. Gulliver leaves Argyll Foods
  • 1987 Argyll Foods purchases Safeway’s UK supermarket operation
  • 1980s-90s Auld Acrimony is launched as a blended malt , exclusively for sale in Safeway
  • 2003 Argyll Foods, which had changed its name to Safeway, is purchased by Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

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See also

  • United Distillers United Distillers United Distillers Distiller & blender

    United Distillers

    A holding company set up by Guinness PLC after its takeover of the Distillers Company Ltd.

  • Distillers Company Limited Distillers Company Limited Distillers Company Limited Distiller & blender

    Distillers Company Limited (DCL)

    Scotch whisky giant that assumed virtual control of the Scotch whisky industry.

  • Guinness UDV Guinness UDV Guinness UDV Distiller & blender

    Guinness UDV

    A company formed in 1997 to oversee Diageo’s beer, wine and spirits operations.

  • Tesco Tesco Tesco Own-label

    Tesco

    The global supermarket chain has been selling Scotch under its own label for more than a decade.

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