The Extraordinary life of Charles Grant Gordon

31 January 2014

1927 - 2013

Known affectionately as Charlie around our Distillery, William Grant's great-grandson made an extraordinary contribution to our family story. Together with his brother Sandy, Charlie turned a small, family run business into the world's leading producer of single malt Scotch whisky. 

As Chairman and later as Life President of William Grant and Sons, Charlie worked tirelessly over six decades to grow our family business. But the decisions he made with his brother didn’t just change the family firm; they had a profound effect on the entire Scotch whisky industry.

At the age of six, Charlie told his father he wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a distiller. But duty came first and at the age of eighteen he joined the Royal Navy to fight in the Second World War. After the ceasefire, he settled back into life at our Distillery but never lost his thirst for travel or love of adventure.

When their father died suddenly in 1953, a great responsibility was placed on Charlie and his brother – the future of Glenfiddich. Together they set about revolutionising the family business, launching Glenfiddich “Straight” malt internationally in 1963 which marked the beginnings of single malt Scotch whisky as we know it today, introducing the distinctive and iconic triangular bottle that Glenfiddich is famous for and in 1969, and opening our visitor centre - the first distillery in Scotland to do so.  

Though the challenges were great, there was no stopping Charlie’s drive and determination. He never retired. His lifelong passion for his family’s business kept him involved until his death on December 21st, 2013. 

Charles Grant Gordon defined our family’s business. It was through his efforts that our whisky became the very first internationally recognised single malt. An extraordinary contribution. So here’s to his vision.

Let’s raise a glass to his inspiring legacy.