Whiskey News: Whisky’s Royal Warrant Holders and the Passing of Queen Elizabeth II

The death of a monarch always brings about big changes, and that is no less true for the world of whisky. One thing that is set to change are the Royal Warrants held by some distillers.

A Royal warrant is a document that grants the holder trading capacity with the Royal Household and allows the company to include the Royal coat of arms on its packaging. Royal Warrants can be granted by the reigning Monarch and anyone else the Monarch designates. However, when the grantor dies, the warrant is void. At that point, the company has two years to remove the Royal Warrant from its packaging.

As of September 8th, 2022, 5 whisky distillers held Royal Warrants.

4 whisky distilleries held Royal Warrants granted by Queen Elizabeth II; John Dewar & Sons, Johnnie Walker, Royal Lochnagar, and Matthew Gloag & Sons LTD, makers of The Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky.

The then Prince of Wales, now King Charles III, also granted a Royal Warrant to D. Johnston & Co, otherwise known as Laphroaig.

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the 4 Royal Warrants in her name have expired. It remains to be seen whether the companies will reapply for new Royal Warrants from King Charles III’s Royal Household.

It also remains to be seen what happens with Laphroaig’s Royal Warrant. King Charles III might decide to renew the Warrant under the new Royal Household, or the Warrant might remain under the new Prince of Wales’s Royal Household.

Royal Warrants can be a big deal to some brands. First, there is the obvious prestige that comes along with gaining a Royal Warrant. But some brands can see up to a 4% increase in potential demand, according to research done by Brand Finance in 2015. That can make a big difference and will likely influence the decision of brands like Laphroaig on whether to seek renewal or not.

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