Edinburgh & The Lothians Breweries
There is perhaps no region more associated with the history of brewing in Scotland than that of Edinburgh and its environs. The brewing industry certainly contributed to Edinburgh's earned moniker of "Auld Reekie" so named due to all the smoke produced by coal and wood burning furnaces and boilers. This is evidenced by the fact that at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries, Edinburgh had no less than thirty-five breweries churning out this smoke from its maltings and brewhouses. This haze may not have been so noticeable were it not for the denseness of the buildings and population in such proximity.
Two of Scotland's largest, most historic and most successful brewing firms were established in Edinburgh. William Younger started brewing in Leith around the year 1749, and went on to launch the Abbey and Holyrood Breweries. William McEwan founded his famous Fountain Brewery in the year 1856 and also became hugely successful. Long after their founders were gone, the two breweries eventually merged and ultimately became Scottish & Newcastle. Sadly, with the closing of the Fountain Brewery in the late 1990's, nothing is left of these once great breweries.
Many other firms were very successful in and around Edinburgh over the years as well. Names such as Ushers, Drybrough, John Jeffrey, T. & J. Bernard, Lorimer & Clark and Steel Coulson & Co. all ran very successful and long lived breweries in Edinburgh throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Nearby, Mark Binnie & Co. ran the Nungate Brewery in Haddington for many years as did John Fowler in Prestonpans. The Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar dates back as far as 1719 and was managed for much of its life under Dudgeon & Co. It remains as Scotland's oldest established brewery still in operation although now owned by England's Greene King.
Although these many famous and historic brewers are now long gone, these great brewing traditions live on at the Caledonian Brewery (established by Lorimer & Clark in 1869) in Edinburgh. Also in the Edinburgh environs are Stewart Brewing (est. 2004), Knops Beer Company (est. 2010), and coming in 2012, Eclipse Brewery. Innis & Gunn also have offices in Edinburgh but beer is brewed under contract. Near to but outside of Edinburgh are Alechemy Brewing (est. 2012) at Livingston, DemonBrew (est. 2011) currently brewing at the Gothenburg pub in Prestonpans, and the Kinneil Brew Hoose at Bo'ness (est. 2011). And finally, well known the world over, Belhaven Brewery (dating to 1719) continues to brew at Dunbar.