Sad Day For Wee Stu

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Doctor's Orders Brewing
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Always a sad day when a brewery closes. I'm sure you'd know of this brewery Wee Stu.


The Last Day of the Fountain Brewery
29 June 2005 17:04

Love it or hate it, the smell of hops and malt is synonymous with Edinburgh and its long brewing tradition. But tomorrow its largest brewery shuts its gates for good. The closure of the Fountain Brewery marks the end of an industrial era for Fountainbridge which was also home to a rubber works and large dairy.

For almost 150 years the brewery has dominated the Fountainbridge area of the capital. Started by William McEwan with money borrowed from his family, it grew to cover 25 acres and its wares have been enjoyed by many. But Scottish and Newcastle has now called time on the historic site

Tam Stewart said: "I've had some really good times and some cracking guys to work with and I'll miss them. Its been like a very close knit family here."

That family once extended to 700, but was reduced to 16 in January, three weeks ago they brewed their final batch.

Stevie McElhaney said: "Because of all the work we've done in the past, It was really sad knowing that was the last one. It was quite a privilege for me to do the last one so I was quite happy with that."

In its heyday the brewery here produced two million barrels a year, and 80% of that was premium ale, the rest lager. But times and tastes have changed and those figures have reversed. The company then decided to move lager production to England.

Dougie Baillie said: "I spent a lot of time in England delivering beer and the English people always liked Scottish beers but now they're almost doing away with it, they're just keeping it local around here. S & N in particular are just going with four big power brands."

However, its not the end for McEwan's ales. They will be brewed just a mile down the road, but other things that will be missed.

Dave Berger said: "Tasting. Even though there are times when you're in at four in the morning, drinking Kestrel super strength at four in the morning is not everyone's cup of tea."

After the gates close tomorrow, the brewery will make way for new housing and offices, marking the end of an era and Fountainbridge's industrial heritage.
RIP Another brewery. :(

Here's some more info;

Located in the Fountainbridge district of Edinburgh until its closure at the end of 2004, the Fountain Brewery was operated by Scottish & Newcastle plc, a brewing and leisure group based in Edinburgh, with an annual turnover of 3.5 billion.

The Fountain Brewery was built in 1856 by William McEwan (1827 - 1913), and by the turn of the century, his business had a commanding share of the beer market in Scotland and the north east of England, together with a valuable export trade to Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India. McEwan's nephew William Younger (1857 - 1925), brother of politician and brewer George Younger (1859 - 1921), ran the company from 1886, when McEwan entered parliament. The brewery was valued at 1 million when it became a public company in 1889.

In 1931, the company formally merged with his George Younger's company to form Scottish Brewers Ltd and, in 1960, merged again to form Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd.

The Fountain Brewery was one of seven in the UK and Ireland operated by S&N. It had a capacity of two million barrels per annum, employed 390 people and produced well-known brands such as McEwans Export, 70/-, 80/- and Lager, Tartan Special, Kestrel Lager, Gillespies Stout and Youngers. Production of the Scottish ales has transferred to the Caledonian brewery and lager brands to elsewhere in the UK.

Warren -
I left Scotland in 91. It beggars the mind to think of the Fountainbridge brewery closing down. I lived in a totally different part of the city, but in the right weather conditions, the whole city knew that a brew was going down.

Scottish and Newcastle (or is it Scottish Courage?) are now a multinational megaswillery, the severing of ties with there historical base comes as no surprise.

Losing brands like Kestrel Lager to the poms is no great loss either.

It would be interesting to know more about the deal with Caledonian.

Caley was an interesting brewery, formed out of the ashes of another brewery rationalisation through a management buyout in the 1980s. I remember a very pleasant day interviewing the managing director as part of a University research project on management buyouts. A two hour interview lasted more like eight, with a wonderful extended lunch in the tasting room :chug: :chug: .
Caledonian Brewery;

Caledonian Brewing Co. Ltd. Slateford Road, Edinburgh, Lothian, EH11 1PH, Scotland, (031) 337 1286.
The 19th century brewery passed from Lorimer & Clark into conglomeration and back to independence again.
There were 30 breweries operating in Edinburgh in 1869 when George Lorimer and Robert Clark built their Caledonian brewery in the "charmed circle" on Slateford Road (so called because of the quality of the well water). The brewery loaded 1,000 hogsheads of ale per week onto railcars at their siding on the Caledonian Railway's main line; Northeast England was the largest market for their Lorimer's Scotch Ale. Merman India Pale Ale, Merman Imperial Stout, Brown Stout and Double Brown Stout were also brewed and bottled. Vaux Breweries of Sunderland acquired the brewery, with its makings, coopers' shop and 70 employees, in 1919. The makings and the coopers' shop remained until 1964; Vaux, while still producing 1,600 barrels a week, mostly for consumption out of Scotland, announced that they would close the brewery in May of 1986. Director Russell Clark led a 1987 management buyback that has preserved this working museum. The brewery has 18 employees and serves 50 free-trade pubs. Its brewhouse boasts the last open, direct-fired coppers in the British Isles, one of which dates back to 1869.

Warren -
Edinburgh will need a new nickname.

I'm not convinced any of the brands are worth saving anymore, but Caley are an excellent brewery quite capable of improving them if allowed to.
And they are turning it into housing and business blocks :(
Armed with no knowledge and pure speculation I'm sure it will be some sort of Meriton style affair :(


Plans are floated for new 9m canal basin on site of brewery


A NEW canal basin is to be created as part of a multi-million-pound development on the site of the former Scottish & Newcastle brewery.

Hundreds of new waterside homes and striking office blocks will be built around the landscaped "mini-marina" near the Viewforth bridge. City leaders have unveiled plans for a major expansion of the Union Canal as part of the vision for how Fountainbridge should look in future.

It is thought the canal basin, set to cost up to 9 million to create, will attract barge owners from all along the Millennium Link - which links Edinburgh, Glasgow and Falkirk - to visit the Capital.

Drawn up in conjunction with brewery owners Scottish & Newcastle, canal operators British Waterways and potential developers, the blueprint envisages two brand new pedestrian bridges over the canal.

Two major through-routes are planned to replace the existing one linking the Viewforth bridge with the main road through Fountainbridge. Scottish & Newcastle is thought to be on the verge of sealing a deal to sell off the land which its Fountain Brewery operated on until June of this year.

The Evening News understands most of it will be snapped up by a consortium already masterminding a huge overhaul of S&N's former beer-kegging and distribution plant. AMA (New Town Limited), Grosvenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland plan to create two new boulevards, linking Fountainbridge with the West Approach Road, through a development - dubbed Fountain North - which will feature 650 new homes and around 160,000 square feet of office space.

One of these boulevards is planned to link with one of the through-routes through Fountain South, while the other will link Viewforth with the Fountain Park leisure centre.

The bulk of the Fountain South site is expected to see around 400 new homes built, while major landscaping improvements will be carried out along the canal.

Part of the huge brewery site may also become home to a new Boroughmuir High School building as the area opposite Fountain Park leisure complex is the council's preferred site if a new school is needed in the next ten years.

It is hoped work on Fountain North will get under way within the next 12 months, subject to planning permission, while the council expects the deal for the sell-off of the Fountain South site to be concluded in six months. Councillors are set to discuss the new blueprint on Thursday.

The Fountain Brewery - the sale of which is expected to generate upwards of 60m for S&N - closed down on June 30, signalling the end of 150 years of brewing tradition in the area.

Alan Henderson, the council's head of planning, said the canal basin was a "key priority" for the council in any new development of the brewery site. He added: "The opportunity exists to create a quality urban environment, exploiting its distinctive canal-side location and establishing important linkages through the site and beyond.

"A key objective is to re-establish a community in Fountainbridge by creating an environment where people can enjoy living, working and relaxing."

Local councillor Lorna Shiels said: "It's very important this new basin is created if the potential of the Union Canal is to be maximised for Edinburgh. This is a once-in-a-hundred-years opportunity to get it right on what is the biggest brownfield site coming up for development in the city centre."
Pity, Grandfather Baillie was from Gatehouse o Fleet in the Kirkcudbright. Was looking forward to some of these brews when we do the pilgrimage next year.

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