Maps. They're so fun to make. That's why Ive been going Scottish brewery map crazy. Because I can and it's fun.
My copy of the Good Beer Guide 2011 came yesterday. It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. Just extract the Scottish breweries and hey presto, I can bring Scottish brewery maps right up to date.
It's not just idle vanity compiling this map. There's a purpose, too. Showing how much the geography of Scottish brewing has changed. Now, bearing in mind the earlier maps, take a look and see if you can spot what has changed:
View Scottish breweries in 2011 in a larger map
Quite a change, isn't it? While there's still some clustering around the population centres of central Scotland, the breweries are spread much more evenly across the country. In particular, the white spots in the Highlands and Islands have largely disappeared. It's very significant. Areas where there had never been commercial brewing are now populated with microbreweries.
What does it tell us about beer in modern Scotland that the major cities of Aberdeen and Dundee have no breweries, but the Orkney Islands and Isle of Skye both have two? In the 19th century, brewing clustured close to centres of industry and population. The reverse now seems true.
Glasgow is the only town with more than one brewery. But poor old Edinburgh. Once of international importance, now down to just a single brewery. How sad. All the great names are gone. In fact, only one large brewery remains: Tennent in Glasgow. I wonder what the second largest is?
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