Newsletter No. 59

1. Chairman’s Statement:

With Spring in the air, the SBAA are planning a number of events to be held during the year, please see Last Runnings for details. If you wish to attend any of these events, please contact Ivor our secretary to book your place so that the necessary plans can be made.

It is with great pleasure that the SBAA offers our congratulations to Sir Geoff Palmer (the founder of the Scottish Brewing Archive) who has been honoured with the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest royal honour. Well done Geoff for yet another award, well deserved.

Congratulations to CAMRA for its 50th anniversary this year. Please see Last Runnings for further information. To promote the work of the SBAA at the event . Beer mats , image below, have been supplied. The reverse side of the beer mat has a QR code that , when scanned , takes you directly to our SBAA website , and provides the answer to the posed question.

Also, congratulations to our members who received notable beer awards this year. You can see the details later in this Newsletter.

The online cataloguing for all Breweries in the collection at Glasgow University business archive continues. Once this important work has been completed, we will inform our membership.

I have a 1000-piece jigsaw that features images of beer history and trivia and if anyone is interested, please let me know. I completed the jigsaw earlier this year. If I don’t hear from anyone, I will hand it in to a charity shop.
Thank you to all who have prepared articles for our quarterly Newsletter and Annual Journal, please keep this going.
John Martin

2. Jeffreys – More evidence of prolific exporting from Edinburgh

As a follow up to my short articles on John Jeffreys & William Youngers exports to The Americas, that appeared in the Newsletters (nos. 55 &57), I recently came across this interesting 1911 photo, that was advertised for sale on EBAY, of Wood Cutters in Grenada drinking Jeffrey’s Stout.

You can just make out the 2 bottles with the Jeffrey’s castle logo in front of the cutter on the right. I assume he is also barefooted as well as the chap on the left – no protective equipment or other health & safety rules in those days!! Although the labels aren’t that clear I would surmise that they are the same as the first one shown here. Two other stout labels of that period are also shown below that one. The yellow coloured one is probably being an earlier version of the ones in the photo.
Heineken has now sold the Caledonian Brewery site to the property developers Artisan Real Estate.
The historic 1.9-acre brewery in Shandon on Slateford Road will be turned into new homes and, according to local reports, the developer has already submitted its Proposal of Application Notice with a public consultation scheduled to be held on 7th February.

Prior to Heineken closing the Caledonian Brewery in 2022, it was Edinburgh’s last major brewery and had been founded in 1869 by George Lorimer and Robert Clark. The brewery, along with its B-listed Victorian buildings, reportedly used traditional brewing methods and open square fermenters and direct-fired copper kettles.

An article on the Caledonian Brewery was included in last year’s Journal.
John Reade

3. Another stopper find , this time Scottish Brewers.

The SBAA recently received an enquiry asking if we could date and tell anything about a Scottish Brewers vulcanite bottle stopper. It was discovered when the person was mud larking near Blackness Castle.

Scottish Brewers existed between the years 1931 when Wm. Younger and Wm. McEwan joined forces and 1960 when Scottish Beers amalgamated with Newcastle Breweries to form Scottish & Newcastle.

If anyone can narrow down the period when it was in use , or any additional information, that would be welcome.

Newsletter No.55 April 2023 included other similar finds of bottle stoppers.

4. From Brewer to Poet – and thanks to the SBAA.

Philip Santos a PhD candidate at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, recently contacted the SBAA to ask if we had any information on Drumdryan brewery in Edinburgh. The brewery in question operated from pre 1743 to the late 19th century and was demolished in 1905 to make way for the now Kings Theatre. During this period the brewery changed hands several times.

Philip went on to explain that his thesis is exploring one brewer in particular, William Julius Meikle or Mickle (1734 – 1788) who operated the brewery from 1752-1763. However, Mickle is best remembered as one of Scotland’s great poets and translator and not so much as a great brewer.

The SBAA were able to assist Philip with his research as there was a detailed article on Drumdryan brewery and its brewers that appeared in our Annual Journal 2020. Philip mentions that there is a dearth of material online on Edinburgh breweries prior to 1770 and went on to say that the SBAA website and newsletters are an excellent resource for information about the history of brewing in Scotland and was grateful for the SBAA assistance with his thesis.

This is just another example of how the SBAA can help with someone’s research. As a result of this enquiry, I decided to make my own research into William Julius Mickle and came across his biography which indeed was fascinating and includes the first two verses of one of his more famous pieces, There’s nae luck about the House.

This is the link to his biography for those interested,

I wonder if Robert Burns was aware of William Meikle and his poems ?

5. Caledonian Brewery Site – update.

Since it was announced that the Caledonian Brewery was too close, many people have asked what the plans were for the site. In the January Newsletter it was mentioned that the brewery was sold to the developers Artisan Real Estate who plan to create new homes on its 1.9 acre site. To find out what the plans were, I decided to attend the public consultation in early February to learn of their proposals.

The plans are to create 170 new homes and to retain and refurbish the main brewery buildings which are in fact listed. New flats are to be built on the right of the site facing north which based on the diagrams looks a bit of a tight squeeze. There will be no car park spaces so residents will need to depend on public transport.

The following images show how the site will look once the work is completed by the end of next year which is a very ambitious time frame. (looks like the iconic chimney will survive)

If you wish to learn more you can look at the developer’s web site. John Martin

6. Franconian Brewery Museum Visit.

6. Franconian Brewery Museum Visit.
At the beginning of the year SBAA Journal editor Robbie Pickering was in Germany and visited the Franconian Brewery Museum in Bamberg. The event was the annual “Stärke Antrinken”, which means literally “drinking for strength”. Subscribing members of the museum get together to celebrate the end of the Christmas season on 6th January and the beginning of a new year.

The museum association ( has a similar number of members to the SBAA and also produces its own magazine.

One of the pictures shows an old malt mill. The Scottish connection is that the mill is made by Riedinger of Augsburg, who were also the firm contracted to build Tennent’s new lager brewhouse in the 1880s!

7. Old Breweries on YouTube.

Ed Burns informed the SBAA of his YouTube video on the Breweries of Old Glasgow. Ed visited the sites of breweries that no longer exist but have left behind some clues. Ed has researched the Glasgow brewing history very well and shows maps that pinpoint where these breweries were once located.

The video ends with a visit to The Tennent’s Story and a pint of Tennent’s Lager.

This video is well worth a look.

Ed did a similar video telling the story of the Drybrough Duddingston Brewery in Edinburgh.

The SBAA is indebted to one of our members, Bill Brown, who informed us that Ed has recently completed a further video on The Breweries of Old Edinburgh.

8. Rare can on eBay.

Thanks to our SBAA member and ‘can’ expert Neil Lawrence (The for bringing a recent item on eBay to our attention.

9. Beer Awards 2024

Congratulations to our members who received the following awards.

International Brewing Awards

Gold – Tennent’s Lager – Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery
Category: Small Pack – Class 1 (2.9% – 4.4% ABV)

SIBA National Independent Beer Awards 2024

Gold – Lucky Spence Pale Ale – Bellfield Brewery  

Category: Keg Session Pale Ale

SIBA National Independent Beer Awards 2024

Silver – Bitter & Twisted – Harviestoun Brewery

Category: Cask British Beer

SIBA National Independent Beer Awards 2024

Bronze – Old Jock Scotch Ale – Broughton Brewery

Category: Cask Imperial & Strong Beer

Why not treat yourself with these beers, none better.

10. Last Runnings

 CAMRA celebrates its 50th anniversary by holding its Members Weekend, AGM and Conference from the 26th – 28th April in Dundee at the Caird Hall, City Square.   

 SBAA Events update – Following a circular sent to members in early April. The visit to see historic brewing buildings in Newton of Falkland ,Fife followed by a visit to John Reade’s home to see his personal collection of brewery memorabilia on Thursday 13th June 2024 is now almost fully subscribed , a mini bus will depart the centre of Edinburgh around 11am. Full details will be communicated to members attending prior to the event.

 Following on the success of recent historical brewery walks. A September evening event, in the form of a historical brewery walk covering another part of South Edinburgh, is being planned. Full details in our next newsletter.

 Warm welcome to new members David MacLeod . Patrick O’Holleran a retired cooper and Hilary Jones formerly with S&N Breweries.

 Remember and send in any articles or interesting photos, next newsletter July.



Correspondence to the SBAA Secretary

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