Take Scottish brewing. There were a few natural obstacles to its development: relatively small population, limited access to raw materials locally, stiff competition from England. Yet Scottish brewing boomed in the second half of the 19th century. Take a look at the figures:
|Scottish beer production 1850 - 1870|
|“A History of the Brewing Industry in Scotland” by IanDonnachie, 1998, pages 147-148.|
|Brewers' Almanack 1928|
I suspect one reason Scottish brewers clustered around the coast is that they were importing many of their raw materials. Hops, obviously. We've already learned how in the 1830's some Scottish brewers were using all English barley. The only Scottish ingredients in their beer were water and yeast. This turned to their advantage after 1850 when Britain became dependent on foreign barley and hops. All brewers had to use foreign ingredients which came in by sea. Alloa brewers could pick them up virtually on their doorstep. Literally on their doorstep in the case of the Shore Brewery.
Located as they were on the coast, Scottish brewers had an advantage over some British brewing regions - Burton comes to mind - that were inland. Railways made bringing in materials and sending out beer simpler within Britain. But they still needed a port to bring in malt from abroad and ship export beer out. Brewers in Edinburgh and Alloa had direct access to the sea.
It's no surprise then that Scottish brewers were quick to exploit the export possibilities of the expanding Empire, shipping beer literally around the globe.
Funny how their geographical disadvantage was changed into an advantage. Globalisation was the reason. There's nothing new.