William Grant, born in 1839, became a bookkeeper at Mortlach distillery in 1866 where he subsequently learned the distilling trade. After about twenty years, Grant left his job at the Mortlach distillery and bought a field near Balvenie Castle. In early 1892 work began to convert an 18th-century mansion (Balvenie New House) into a distillery. The building took fifteen months to complete, and on 1 May 1893, the first distillation took place at the Balvenie Distillery.
David Stewart MBE, Balvenie's Malt Master, began working with William Grant & Sons in 1962. He is perhaps most famous for pioneering the process that would later be known as wood finishing, a process whereby whiskies are matured in one type of cask, such as ex-bourbon barrels, then transferred into a second cask type (such as ex-sherry, port or rum) resulting in greater flavour development. He received his MBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016 for his services to the Scotch Whisky Industry.
Balvenie makes whisky in the traditional batch process of the production of single malt. The use of locally grown barley is preferred, and it is floor-malted where possible. Of the 130+ distilleries in Scotland, Balvenie is one of only seven distilleries with its own malting floor.