William Grant founded Glenfiddich in 1886 from second-hand equipment bought at a bargain price from nearby distillery Cardhu. It is located near the small river whose name it bears in Dufftown in the heart of Speyside. It produced its first whisky on Christmas Day 1887. The glen of the river Fiddich gives its name to the biggest-selling single malt whisky in the world. The Glenfiddich distillery is on the small river whose name it bears, in Dufftown.
The name Fiddich indicates that the river runs in the valley of the deer and indeed a stag is the company's emblem. Although the distillery no longer produces its own malt, pagodas have been added to some of the newer buildings in a salute to tradition. One uniquely truly traditional element is the use of coal-fired stills – the stills are small, and the whisky is principally aged in plain oak, though about 10% goes into sherry casks. The distillery is unusual in that it has its own bottling line on the premises, with the only other malt distillery with bottling facilities being Springbank.
William Grant brought his eight children into the business, and the company is still directed and managed by his descendants. Today it is the world's best-selling malt whisky.