Girvan History

William Grant & Sons built its Girvan distillery after a strange wrangle between the Grant family and DCL. According to legend, Grant’s had decided to run a TV ad for its Standfast brand on commercial television. DCL took umbrage at this show of crass commercialism and promptly said that it would cut off Grant’s supply of grain whisky.

As this would have seriously affected the growth of Standfast, the family did what they always have done: built a new distillery from scratch – and quickly. Girvan on the Clyde coast was chosen because of the size of the site and encouragement given by the local council for large-scale investment in the area.

In 1963, under the eye of the young Charles Grant Gordon, the distillery was built, commissioned and in production within nine months. In an echo of his great-grandfather William Grant at Glenfiddich, the first spirit ran on Christmas Day. The cutting off of grain could also be seen as giving the impetus for the launch of Glenfiddich Pure Malt the same year.

Girvan continues to provide grain for the Grant’s portfolio and other blenders.

In 1985 William Grant & Sons launched Black Barrel single grain, but this was withdrawn. In 2014 the firm tried again with a new range at different age statements under the name Girvan Patent Still.

In 1995 the original Coffey stills were replaced with a new multiple-column vacuum still set-up. The site was also home to the Ladyburn malt whisky distillery which ran from 1965-75. Today it is also home to the Hendrick’s gin plant and the Ailsa Bay malt distillery.

Girvan Facts

  • Blends contributed to i
    Grant's, Clan MacGregor
  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Cook time i
  • Distillation system i
  • Fermentation Time i
    60 hours
  • Filling Strength i
    69%, 74%, 80%
  • Grain type i
  • Malted barley % i
  • New-make Strength i
  • Number of columns i
  • Water Source i
    River Girvan


Current owner


Girvan Distillery
Grangestone Industiral Estate
KA26 9PT
United Kingdom
+44 1465 713091
Visitor Opening Hours
Not open to the public


See also

  • Monkey Shoulder Monkey Shoulder Monkey Shoulder Brand

    Monkey Shoulder

    While its name references a long-forgotten ailment, Monkey Shoulder is a thoroughly modern whisky.

  • Cameronbridge Cameronbridge Cameronbridge Distillery & brand


    The largest grain distillery in Europe.

  • Benrinnes Benrinnes Benrinnes Distillery & brand


    A highly individual Speyside whisky.

  • Balvenie Balvenie Balvenie Distillery & brand


    Balvenie is one of the few distilleries to still operate a floor maltings.

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