1. Chairman’s Statement
Hello again and welcome to the August Newsletter.
In the last Newsletter I mentioned that snow and ice had made a return in April, this time however the weather has improved. So let’s hope for some more good beer drinking weather.
The SBAA made a donation of £100 to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and we received a thank you letter in return.
Many thanks go to Colin Johnston for arranging a visit to the Crisp Maltings in Alloa, which was well attended. I was unable to attend myself but received good feedback saying it was very enjoyable.
You may have read that Heineken have taken the decision to close the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, which is very sad considering its 150 years of brewing history. Theirs beers will continue to be brewed by Belhaven. I did try on numerous occasions to contact the Caley brewery by phone and by email without any replies. If anyone knows how to make contact with them please let me know.
Thanks to all who provided contributions in time for this Newsletter. The Belhaven and Strangers Brewery articles were as a result of the BBC Nine programme that included both breweries and of course featuring the Scottish Brewing Archive in Glasgow.
Your committee has been very busy, in particular Richard Rees, in setting up a new membership system called MOJO. All members were notified of this several weeks ago, and more details will be issued as things progress. Unfortunately, Helen our Treasurer and Membership Secretary has decided to stand down due to increasing family and work commitments. Helen will leave at the end of this financial year and as a result we are now looking for a replacement so that a handover of duties can be arranged.
Take care and enjoy the rest of the summer months with a beer in hand.
2. Murray’s Pale Ale
Many thanks to our member Jim Darroch for informing the SBAA of Murray’s Pale Ale being available for the first time in over 60 years.
Murray’s brewery was last mentioned in the ‘Name the Brewery’ feature that appeared in the April and July 2020 Newsletters (No’s 43 & 44).
However Murray’s beer has raised its head again, although the brewery in Craigmillar, Edinburgh closed in 1962 as a result of a takeover, two years earlier.
The Café Royal in Edinburgh is now serving Murray’s Pale Ale and after further investigation, I found out that this beer is now brewed at Broughton Brewery, famous for its series of ‘Jock’ beers amongst others.
Murray’s pump clip at Café Royal
Original Murray’s Pale Ale beer label
About four years ago Café Royal asked Broughton if it could provide a beer exclusively for them and which was synonymous with Edinburgh. Murray’s was chosen due its style of beers and because it originated in Ednam in 1880 a small village near Kelso, not all that far from Broughton brewery in the Scottish borders.
Broughton researched the recipe using records from Heriot Watt University. Murray’s Pale Ale has an ABV of 3.6%, a good session beer.
So why not visit Café Royal and ask for a Murray’s and sit back to enjoy, not only the beer but also the excellent décor of this truly heritage pub.
Well worth a visit.
Also visit the Broughton brewery web site to find out more about the brewery and their many products. https://broughtonales.co.uk/brewery/
3. SBAA event at Crisp Maltings Alloa
We are indebted to SBAA member Colin Johnston who is Craft Breweries and Distillery Sales Manager with Crisp Malt for hosting our members visit to the Alloa Maltings in June.
Colin opened the event by covering the history the Alloa maltings supported by some excellent period maps showing the evolution of brewing and malting in the area.
The visit concluded at the recently installed bagging and container filling plant where the operator demonstrated the impressive automated system. It was most encouraging to learn that Alloa still has a place in the brewing world with exports of malt from this new plant going to several Continents.
You can read more of the Crisp Malt history in last years Journal.
4. Belhaven Brewery Visitor Experience
Belhaven Brewery opened a brand new Visitor Experience in November 2021 with British Paralympian, Maria Lyle, cutting the ribbon in a formal ceremony to mark the occasion.
The Dunbar-born sprinter, who won a bronze medal in the women’s T35 100m final in Tokyo in August, was joined by Provost of East Lothian, John McMillan, as months of hard work culminated in the grand opening.
The Visitor Experience gives people the opportunity to discover the history of Scotland’s oldest working brewery dating back to 1719, learn the brewing process of Belhaven’s exceptional beers and even show visitors the locally sourced malt used.
The Experience allows visitors to have their picture taken in front of Belhaven’s iconic chimneys, visit the secret garden and immerse themselves in a tutored tasting of four award-winning Belhaven Beers.
Belhaven Brewery Brand Manager, Fiona Matheson, led on the project and has been delighted with the reception the Experience has gained in its first 6 months, stating: “The Visitor Experience has been so well received by the people of East Lothian but also from people all over the world. Belhaven has incredible history and tradition as Scotland’s oldest working brewery and it is amazing that we get to share all that history with beer fanatics, and novices alike.”
5. Old Scottish brewery bottle surfaces at auction
Roy’s Alloa East India
This image appeared on Facebook quite recently and will be of interest to SSBA members.
A quick search of the internet indicates that Stephen Green of Lambeth was a well known manufacturer of earthenware and stoneware in the first half of the 19th century, including glazed glass lined bottles such as this rare example,
Image reproduced by permission of BBR Auctions
In 1810 Andrew Roy was one of the three co-founders (and manager) of the brewery which eventually became known as the Alloa Brewery Company. By 1825 he had emerged as sole owner of the business, trading as Andrew Roy & Company.
The brewery remained in the Roy family until it came on to the market in 1866 after running into financial problems, being acquired by Archibald Arrol.
A detailed article covering these difficulties can be found here.
Interesting to note that one of the creditors was James Younger, head of his family’s local brewing business.
Arrols was later acquired by Samuel Allsopps, under the astute stewardship of the prominent brewery manager John Calder of Alloa who had been called in to nurse the ailing Burton brewer out to receivership in 1913.
The Bottle appears to be stamped “Roy’s East India Palfitte” or “Paleitee”
If anybody knows what Palfitte means – I’m sure Ivor would love to hear from them – a trawl of Google proved fruitless.
6. Strangers Brewery
Strangers Brewing Co. Founder and Head Brewer Brett Welch at Narrowboat Farm
In April this year, the SBAA appeared on the BBC Nine programme in a short piece celebrating the 40th anniversary of the archive. As well as interviewing members of our team, they also spoke to Strangers Brewing Co. in Linlithgow, which was (at the time at least) the newest brewery in Scotland.
Strangers Brewing Co. sits in an old veg shed on Narrowboat Farm, an eco-friendly market garden farm in central Scotland. The founder, Brett Welch, launched the microbrewery in March this year – his aim was to bring brewing back to Linlithgow, as the town has a strong brewing and malting history but the historic breweries have all long closed. On the Nine, Brett talked about how he was inspired to be a brewer by his Granny, who was an avid maker of home-brewed wines. Indeed, his first brewing experience was helping his Granny make elderflower wine, and he tries to include local flavours like that in the beers he makes today.
Brett commented: “At Strangers Brewing Co. we brew craft beer by hand in small batches. We have a core range of beers, which are available all year round and follow more traditional recipes, as well as seasonal specials that take their flavours from what’s growing on the farm and the surrounding Scottish countryside. So far this has included a porter with foraged sloes, a pale ale with honey from hives on the farm, and an American-style pale ale with foraged spruce tips.”
You can learn more about Strangers Brewing Co. via the Strangers Brewing Co. website at www.strangersbrewing.co.uk
Strangers Brewing Co. at Narrowboat Farm, Linlithgow, West Lothian
New Shoots (the pale ale with spruce tips) in a Strangers Brewing Co. branded beer glass
7. 50 Pots exhibition – Opening Evening
On the evening July the 7th I attended the opening , by Glasgow’s Lord Provost, the Scottish Pottery Society exhibition labelled “50 pots”. I was amazed to learn the extent and scale of the Glasgow pottery industry in the late 19th century. It was also a pleasure to meet fellow SBAA member Denis Ayres who had travelled down from Inverness for the opening. Denis is the leading authority on the Possil Pottery, which for a period was owned and operated by J&R Tennent. I was also surprised to see examples of stoneware beer bottles made in Glasgow and exported empty to brewers in distant export markets.
Mr & Mrs Denis Ayres at the stand displaying items made at Possil Pottery when owned by Tennent’s. The colourful posters in the background advertising Tennent’s stoneware bottles in the Cuban market were from the SBA collection at Glasgow University Archive.
This bottle was made in Glasgow for the Madelin Brewery in Rosario , Argentina c. 1880.
The exhibition is in the Maryhill Burgh Hall’s and will run until October , admission free.
Ivor T. Reid
8. Brewing in the North-East of Berlin (Pankow-Prenzlauer Berg)
It is a well known among readers that Tennent’s lager originated in Bavaria and can be traced back to 1885, when it was first launched in Scotland. It less well known, that the development of Bavarian beer had a similar impact in the German countries.
It was the introduction of the bottom-fermented brewing method from Bavaria that led to the success of Berlin brewing. From the more than 70 breweries in Berlin around 1900 more than two-third we located in the North-East, at what is today known as the trendy Pankow-Prenzlauer Berg district.
Centre-point of this large brewing enterprise was the “windmill hill”, a hill with windmills, which pumped up the water that supplied the many breweries in its neighbourhood, and a large water reservoir.
Historic print of the early windmill hill and reservoir; this poster is on open display near the original hill site.
When I marked the locations of the historic breweries on a map, one can still guess the layout of the various pipes that supplied the water.
Almost all the breweries were located outside the city boundaries and played a significant part in the social life and recreation of the Berliners. They offered beer gardens and halls with several hundred and sometimes thousand seats, with entertainment such as dance and music, and played an important part in Berlin political events. They were the sites of Communist power struggle, of forced Nazi labour, and of GDR economic decline.
Although most historic breweries are closed now or have relocated, many of the old buildings are still in existence, often hidden in new building areas or quiet courtyards. If you are in Berlin and would like to see some of these historic sites or like to learn more about them, please do get in touch.
Until five years ago Klaus was Principal Curator of Technology at the Scottish National Museum and cooperated with the Scottish Brewing Archive. Recently, he has started to brew his own beer.
The former Schultheiss-Brauerei, once the world’s biggest lager brewery, and now a cultural event space, the Kulturbrauerei.
The Pfefferberg brewery’s surviving beer garden, which is still in use today and serves its own micro-brewed beer.
Further reading: Klaus Kuervers, Bernt Roder, Bettina Tacke: Hopfen und Malz, Berlin 2005.
9. Angus organises marketing & PR quinquennial reunion
In May, SBAA member Angus Meldrum organised a reunion of colleagues from the time he was Marketing and Sales Director for Tennent Caledonian Breweries. The event took place at “The Tennent’s Story” located Wellpark Brewery, now fully open following coronavirus.
Angus and current TCB MD Kenny Gray welcome guests to the Tennent’s Story
Guests included former TCB Chairman Hamish Swan, Donald Smith who first visited Wellpark in 1933 , Alex Robertson and Bill Nolan amongst others.
Also in the group was Mark Hunter who started his career with Tennent’s and recently retired as CEO of the global brewing behemoth Molson-Coors , proving that Scots still have a place in influencing international brewing.
11. The Demon Drink ?
20 May–18 September 2022
Hunterian Art Gallery
Glasgow University Admission free
This new exhibition explores the theme of alcohol in art and the contradiction of the positive and negative consequences of the ‘demon drink’.
Blending items from The Hunterian collections with the artwork of internationally renowned graphic artist Frank Quitely, Demon Drink examines themes including the consumption of alcohol, the Temperance Movement, indulgence and the overlap between high art, popular culture and marketing. It also explores the process of making art.
Other highlights include 19th and 20th century Temperance Society medals, a cup from Miss Cranston’s tearooms in Glasgow, and a 1980 image of street drinkers in Glasgow by renowned MAGNUM photographer Raymond Depardon also included are a glamorous 1950’s beer marketing poster from University Brewing Archive.
12. Last Runnings
HISTORIC BREWERY WALK – The next SBAA social event will be a walking historical tour of the Canongate Breweries in Edinburgh to be held on THURSDAY 1st September at 6pm, meeting outside John Knox’s house on the Royal mile. There will be refreshments following the tour. If you wish to attend, please let the Secretary know by 22nd August.
Thanks to David Archibald for bringing our attention to this event, looks good with SBAA members Bellfield, Harviestoun, Stewart Brewing all represented and Crisp Maltings being a headline sponsor – Cheers
Correspondence to the SBAA Secretary email@example.com