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William Sanderson & Sons

William Sanderson & Sons

5 Lochside Way
Edinburgh (ZIP Code EH12 9DT)
United Kingdom
+44 20 8978 6000

William Sanderson & Son is a Scottish distillery named after the founder and his eldest son, who would later become a partner. After studying the production of spirits, William Sanderson began to experiment with his own recipes for blends, finally coming up with a number of different recipes which he allowed experts to taste and vote on, choosing the overwhelming favourite to bottle and sell as his most popular product, then as well as now.


At the age of thirteen, William Sanderson was sent by his father to be trained by a wine and spirit manufacturer in Leith, which has since become part of Edinburgh, Scotland. In May 1863, he was licensed and created his first recipe which was a blended whisky.

Sanderson continued to hone his skills over the years until 1822. This was when he decided to put 100 of his blends into different vats, labelling them only with numbers and asking a group of experts to taste and vote on which was the best. The overwhelming winner was vat number 69. That blend became the premier blend of the brand and maintains the name Vat 69 to date.

William Sanderson, with his eldest son, William Mark, chose the perfect bottle for Vat 69 and began to market it. William Mark became a partner in the business in 1892. It is from here that the name William Sanderson & Son comes from. After a number of mergers over the years, the William Sanderson & Son Limited has finally ended up as part of the Diageo portfolio of fine spirits.

Product Range

The most famous product to be offered by William Sanderson & Son is their Vat 69 blended Scotch whisky. This historic blend even became one of the most popular whiskies in the USA after the end of Prohibition. Not only has it travelled all the way to the South Pole as part of an Antarctic exploration, it has also appeared in a number of Hollywood and Bollywood films and even made an appearance in Band of Brothers.

The current recipe for Vat 69 requires 40 different malt and grain whiskies to create their dependable, well-balanced blend. A limited-edition VAT 69 Reserve version is also available, released in 1980.

Other Relevant Information

The iconic bottle for Vat 69 was chosen by Sanderson and his son because it was locally made in Leith. The antique looking green glass bottle with its black label and bulbous neck is an unmistakable marker for the iconic Vat 69 brand.

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