William Grant & Sons has won its ten-year legal battle against rival Scottish drinks company Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse over the right to use the Grant’s name. Glen Catrine will have to rebrand its vodka and gin products with a different name, approved by William Grant & Sons.
The news comes only days before a final appeal by Glen Catrine against an earlier Appeal Court judgment in William Grant’s favour was to be heard by the House of Lords. In addition to changing the name of its products, Glen Catrine has also agreed to pay William Grant “a significant contribution” towards the latter’s legal costs – which could run into millions of pounds.
According to AC Nielsen’s Top 100 Drinks league table, J Grant’s vodka was the 32nd biggest-selling drinks brand in the UK in 2001, with sales of £44.3m. William Grant’s whisky was number 38, on £36.4m.
Glen Catrine had claimed it had the right to use the Grant’s name because in the Seventies it bought Glasgow wine and spirit merchant John Grant. However, the Scottish Court of Session ruled in 1999 that Glen Catrine should stop using the Grant’s name on its gin and vodka. That judgment was upheld on appeal. Earlier this year, Glen Catrine announced it was taking the case to the House of Lords.
Glen Catrine, which is owned by reclusive tycoon Sandy Bulloch, also owns blended whisky brands Clansman, Glen Scotia and High Commissioner. The Bulloch family also owns the Loch Lomond Distillery Company.