Sunday, 4 April 2010

George or William?

Who brewed Gordon Highland Scotch Ale in the 1950's? Whitbread include it on the George Younger (of Alloa) page in their Gravity Book. As you can see below:

Barm correctly stated that the beer was later brewed by the successor to the other Younger (William), Scottish & Newcastle. George Younger belonged to the other large Scottish brewing group, Bass/Tennents. How could the brand have ended up with S & N?

A very good question, for which I don't have an answer. Did the Whitbread just get their Youngers in a twist?


Barm said...

It does seem a fundamental error for Whitbread to make, but the only other possible explanation is that they sold the brand to S&N, which sounds even less likely.

I can only think that the people actually compiling the Gravity Book didn't know the trade that well. Other people in Whitbread would be very familiar with the Belgian trade, of course, but not everyone. Bear in mind the label probably said John Martin and not Younger.

"Hey boss, who actually brews this Gordon Highland Scotch Ale?"
"Younger, of course, everyone knows that!"
*clerk turns to first page with the name Younger on it*

Another interesting thing about that log is that Sweetheart Stout was even weaker than it is today at just 1.7% abv compared to 2.0% now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it was brewed by Robert Younger of Edinburgh who were taken over by S&N in 1960 ?

They were a relatively small independent brewer they were directly related to George Youngers of Alloa although they had no business connections.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mac, don't confuse me more. Two Youngers are difficult enough to cope with.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for any confusion, it can be a maze - I hope I can keep this simple !!!

William Younger of Edinburgh was the longest established of the three brewing concerns of that name - but was unrelated to George Younger & Son of Alloa or Robert Younger & Son of Edinburgh.

James Younger (1818-1868) was the fourth generation of the George Younger & Son dynasty to run the Alloa brewery that his great great grandfather started in 1764. His younger brother Robert (1820-1921)did his apprenticeship in Alloa, finished off at Dryboroughs in Edinburgh, then founded the St.Ann's brewery in Edinburgh in 1844.

Now, here's where it can get really confusing !!!

James married Janet McEwan of Alloa in 1850 - her younger brother William (1827-1913) was to become one of the most famous names in Scottish brewing. He later took Janet's second son, William Younger (of Alloa) into the business and he eventually became managing director etc. of the celebrated Fountain Brewery in Edinburgh when his uncle entered Parliament.

His son, the late Chairman of Scottish & Newcastle, Sir William McEwan Younger (1905-1992) was a direct descendand of the Alloa Youngers - and had no family connections with the Edinburgh William Youngers despite the commercial ties of Wm.Youngers and Wm.McEwans from 1931 merger - and the fact that S&N swallowed up Robert Younger & Son in 1960.

There's more !!!

Janet Younger & William McEwan's mother was Anne Jeffrey, sister of David and John Jeffrey, who had the well known Heriot Brewery in Edinburgh - so you can see how these famous names in Scottish brewing history were all related.

Incidentally, David Younger, the co-founder of the excellent Broughton Brewery in the Scottish borders is the great grandson of Robert Younger and one of their ales, Scottish Oatmeal Stout (very nice) has Robert's portrait on the label.

Here endeth the history lesson.

tivoli said...

I have copies of neck labels from Gordon Highland Scotch ale & Xmas ale showing- brewed by George Younger in Alloa. As George Y.disappeared into the Bass empire, I would love to know how W.Younger got hold of the brands. Having just found this website, don't know how to show images

dyranian said...

Is it likely that the Gordon brands which were brewed by George Younger in the 1950s were, as now, owned by John Martin in Antwerp. Perhaps, when George Younger was taken over in or around 1960, it was John Martin who sought another brewer, namely William Younger.

Barm said...

dyranian, that sounds plausible to me, and a better explanation than mine. If you want to scan the labels then I'm sure Ron will post them. If he won't I will.