Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Andrew Roy and Son's pure Alloa Ales

I'm still trying to get my head around how the modest town of Alloa came to be so well-known for its beers.

Newcastle Journal - Saturday 17 April 1858, page 1.

The term Alloa Ale definitely had a cachet, and was used like Burton Pale Ale or London Porter as a sign of quality.  How did Alloa's brewers achieve this? Obviously by brewing good beer, but also by selling it all over the country. In terms of distribution, Alloa and Edinburgh punched well above their weight. Without much of a home market to speak of, Scottish brewers had to seek sales elsewhere.

That explains how a relatively small brewery like Andrew Roy could be famous enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Bass or Allsopp. Admittedly, in the case of the advertisement above, their beer isn't being sold that distantly from Scotland, just in Newcastle. But they did supply London, too.

And Exeter, which is about as far away from Alloa as you can get and still be in the UK:

Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 06 May 1852, page 4.


Magnus Bark said...

I have read your writing on Alloa Ale, but I can not quite understand one thing: Where Alloa Ale a style or a sogn of quality and origin?

Ron Pattinson said...

Bark, a sign of quality, more than anything.

Burton Ale, Edinburgh Ale, Alloa Ale were all pretty much the same thing, just brewed in different towns.

And they brewed various different beer: Scotch Ales, Pale Ales and Mild Ales.

They were the towns where, for whatever reason, the beers had a better reputation.