Black grouse Tetrao tetrix, adult male on lek. Corrimony RSPB reserve. Scotland.

The Famous Grouse and the RSPB

Perfect drinking partners since 2008.

Perfect drinking partners

The Famous Grouse and the RSPB have been working together since 2008 with the launch of its new whisky, The Black Grouse, now called The Famous Grouse Smoky Black. The Famous Grouse Smoky Black features a black grouse – a bird that is seriously under threat in the UK. In Scotland, the bird is recognised by the Scottish government as a high priority species for conservation action. It was the perfect time to work together to save this threatened species.

Black grouse Tetrao tetrix, adult male on lek. Corrimony RSPB reserve. Scotland.

Raise a glass

The Famous Grouse and the RSPB formed a unique partnership to raise funds for essential black grouse conservation work.

The whisky first went on sale in Sainsbury's in June 2008, and can now be found throughout the UK. Funds from the sale of the whisky goes on to support a range of habitats that support black grouse in the UK.

The partnership was one of the first of its kind in the industry and has been an enormous success.

The whisky and its benefits to black grouse conservation have been a real hit with the RSPB’s staff and million-strong membership – raise a glass to two truly perfect drinking partners!

A success story

Since 2008, money from The Famous Grouse partnership has directly helped our work with black grouse, specifically on seven reserves: Abernethy, Crannach, Corrimony, Inversnaid and Wood of Cree in Scotland, Lake Vyrnwy in Wales and Geltsdale in England. Our work mainly focuses on creating ideal habitat for these birds. The remarkable partnership has raised more than £650,000 for black grouse conservation. Additionally, this funding has enabled the RSPB to work in partnership with Scottish National Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland to review and identify the habitat requirements for black grouse and to prioritise resources accordingly across the wider countryside.

In that time we have:

  • Seen a 30% increase in black grouse across the four reserves that received funding from the start of the partnership in 2008.
  • Planted 185,000 trees for black grouse
  • Improved more than 85,000 acres of land for black grouse
  • Purchased Crannach reserve in the Cairngorms National Park for black grouse, a woodland and upland area.
  • Planted 1,000 trees in the RSPB Corrimony Nature Reserve for black grouse
  • The biggest success story is at RSPB Geltsdale, where in 2015 the RSPB’s largest single lek (mating ritual) was recorded, made up of 28 males.

Get your FREE black grouse pin badge

Sorry – you’re too late! All of our black grouse pin badges, with limited-edition The Famous Grouse backing card, have now gone.

Did you know that there’s a huge range of different types of RSPB pin badges? Look out for RSPB pin badge sales boxes at over 8,000 locations across the UK, including our nature reserves. You can also find our limited edition, collectable and new badge ranges for sale on our eBay page.


Male black grouse jousting on lek site