Sunday, 22 April 2012

George Younger time line

It's nice when someone saves you the trouble of doing something yourself. Which is what some kind person at the Scottish Brewing Archive did by putting together this time line. I'd ut it out and keep it, if I were you. It's what I've done, in an electronically sort of way.

"1762 George Younger purchased a property which included a malt kiln.

1764 adjoining property belonging to the brewer Robert Stein was purchased - combination of two sites became the Meadow Brewery, seemingly one of the first public breweries in Alloa.

1771 Robert Meiklejohn established his 1st public brewery in Alloa.

1787 Meiklejohn moved his brewing to Candleriggs brewery. 1816 Shore Brewery built.

by 1820s Meiklejohn's known as R Meiklejohn & Son (son James returned from London).

1850 Railway came to Alloa - little impact at first, with water transport remaining crucial for Alloa's links to the rest of the world. It was not until 1890 and the opening of the Forth Bridge that the North British Railway had a reasonably direct route to Edinburgh, but the Caledonian Railway delivered an alternative route to Alloa in 1885 and it provided transport for Meiklejohn's.

1852 George Younger leased Candleriggs Brewery of Robert Meiklejohn & Co (purchased in 1871). Meiklejohn's moved to Grange Brewery.

1853 Alexander Blair founded Townhead Brewery.

1856 Ownership of Grange Brewery passed to Maitland, Gorrie and Boyes - Charles Maitland adopted his family crest of the Bass Rock and the motto "Non Fluctuo Fluctu" both of which had been granted to his family by Charles II. The use of the Bass Crest name led to continuing legal battles with Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton of Burton fame.

1850s George Younger exported strong ale to the West Indies.

1856 A new brewery opened with an Alloa connection, but not in Alloa. This was the Fountain Brewery established in Edinburgh by William McEwan, who hailed from Alloa.

1862 Shore Brewery bought by James Calder (it prospered greatly). Its proximity to the harbour meant that Calders beer was easily exported. The company owned its own ships. Ale for England also went by sea.

1874 Meiklejohn Centenary.

1889 George Younger Candleriggs brewery damaged by fire and rebuilt 'bigger & better'.["A Short History of George Younger & Son Limited, Alloa, (1762 - 1925)", 1925, gives the date of the fire as 1899.]

1891 Alfred Barnard visits Shore Brewery on his famous tour

1897 George Younger registered as a limited liability company began to trade to India, far East and South Afirca (particularly pale ales).

1898 George Younger purchased R Fenwick & Co of Sunderland.

1913 Calders took over the failing firm Samuel Allsopp & Sons of Burton and thus established a long-standing link between the great ale towns on the Forth and the Trent, which was only effectively severed in 1998 with the closure of Alloa Brewery.

1921 Brewing moved to Arrol's Alloa Brewery (brewing both pale ale and lager for Calders)

1920 Under the threat of temperance campaigns, the George Younger company bought Grange Brewery to brew non-intoxicating beers and stouts!

1941 George Younger closed Grange Brewery.

1944 Calders bought Robert Henderson's Mills Brewery. During Second World War, Fenwick of Sunderland was bombed while brewers continued to face restrictions on availability of ingredients.

1951 Ind Coope & Allsopp took control of Alloa Brewery, which then concentrated on lager. Later modernisation of the brewery to create a magnificent continental-style brewhouse with its famous huge coppers, led to the years of Skol Lager as a product that had its followers, but never toppled Tennents of Glasgow from the number one lager spot in Scotland.

1954 BA Ltd acquired Robert Knox (Cambus) Ltd.

1957 BA Ltd acquired Ideal Taverns (Scotland) Ltd.

1959 George Younger took over Blair's of Alloa. BA ceased to brew.

1962 BA Co Ltd went into voluntary liquidation.

1963 Brewing ceased at Candleriggs brewery."
Journal of the Scottish Brewing Archive, vol. 7, 2006, pages 36 - 39

There you go. 200 hundred glorious years of George Younger. It's such a shame they closed. I console myself with at least having drink beer from one of the great Alloa breweries, Maclay. Note how the history of Meiklejohn and Younger entwine. Strange, isn't it, that George Younger bought two former Meiklejohn breweries?

That's worrying. "A Short History of George Younger & Son Limited, Alloa, (1762 - 1925)" gives the date of the disastrous fire as 1899. It turns out that's wrong and the date really was 1889. As this newspaper article of the time proves:

At an early hour yesterday morning fire was discovered to have broken out in the extensive brewery in Candle Street belonging to Messrs George Younger & Sons. The Alloa Fire Brigade, with their steam fire engine, under the direction of Superintendent Nicol, was early on the spot, but it was found that the flames had obtained a firm hold of the old portion of the works, where all the brewing plant is situated. Strenuous efforts were made to subdue the conflagration, and after several hours' work the flames were got under and prevented from spreading is to the new buildings in close proximity. As it is enormous damage has beets done. The, brewing department has been entirely destroyed including seventeen tons of beer, three valuable engines and a boiler, refrigerators,  &c., while the cast metal mash tuns and copper' mashing machines, coolers and shafting have been crushed, twisted, and otherwise damaged. The firm at present are very busy and having been working night shifts, but no night work was going on on Tuesday evening, and the cause of the disaster has not been ascertained. The damage, which is only partially covered by insurance, is estimated at between £11,000 and £12,000.
Glasgow Herald - Wednesday 27 November 1889, page 8.
I hope that was just a typo when the book was transcribed for the reprint.

There was a smaller fire in 1897:

Between seven and eight o'clock this morning fire was discovered to have broken out in the draft drying room in Candleriggs Brewery, belonging to Messrs George Younger & Son, brewers, Alloa. The flames were extinguished before much damage was done. The draft-room was gutted, and a considerable quantity of draft was destroyed. The origin of the fire is unknown, and the damage cannot be accurately estimated, but will probably amount to £200."
Edinburgh Evening News - Monday 15 November 1897, page 2.

I assume by "draft" that they really mean "draff", or spent grain. That was clearly a much less serious fire. There was only  £200 of damage compared to more than £10,000 in the 1889 fire.

Breweries, what a fire risk, eh? I wouldn't want to live next to one. There's hardly one that didn't have a serious fire sometime.


Arctic Alchemy said...

Sadly, this and many other timelines of the great breweries all end the same way, in liquidation.

Rob Sterowski said...

"Draft" in the last quote should surely be draff, a Scottish term for spent grain. (Whether it's exclusively Scottish usage I don't know).

Jeff Renner said...

Might want to correct this for posterity:

"... gives the date of the disastrous fire as 1899. It turns out that's wrong and the date really was 1899."

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeff, thanks for pointing that out. Now corrected.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, you're probably right. The newspaper article says "draft", but I guess that's a mistake.

Dendy said...

Very interesting as I'm doing research into the TAIT family of Alloa. James TAIT was shown on the 1871 Census as "brewer" living at "Shore Brewery House, The Walk, Alloa". I think he might have been the brother of Jane TAIT who married John McNELLAN. Still trying to verify this though. You info on The Shore Brewery has helped me tie up some loose ends. Cheers, Denise

Ron Pattinson said...

Denise, glad to have been of help.

Anonymous said...

It was James Tait McNellan that James Calder was charged with assaulting in this story.

The son of John McNellan who established the Shore brewery in Alloa 1816 ?