Maclay’s and George Younger, Alloa

Not quite finished with the photos from wandering around Alloa looking at where breweries once were.

The last brewery to close is also the best preserved — Maclay’s is now a pub called the Old Brewery. Bizarrely, it’s now run by Belhaven, not Maclay’s pub company. Belhaven have turned it into a miserable beer desert with big screen TVs and it was too depressing to take any pictures inside.

Outside, along the fence is that favourite of 1990s heritage consultants, public art in remembrance of the industry that was once here.

Remnants of the former Maclay’s brewery

Detail with Maclays monogram and thistle emblem

The ultimate insult, a series of memorial plaques in Comic Sans.

At least Maclay’s got a memorial. This is pretty much all that’s left reminding the town of George Younger:

Station Hotel window with faded George Younger ‘Y’ – “The Sign of Good Beer”

More legible from inside.
That and the cans of Sweetheart Stout in the fridge behind the bar in the Thistle Bar that still bear the words “Younger of Alloa”, even though Tennent’s has now been brewing the stuff for longer than George Younger ever did. Next to the Sweetheart Stout, invented in Alloa, is Fraoch, now brewed in Alloa. History is there if you know where to look.


  1. How on earth did Belhaven end up owning and running the former brewery?

  2. For a time after the Thistle Brewery closed, Belhaven continued to contract brew and bottle beers under the Maclay name. I don't think this is the case any longer due to the Greene King takeover. Maybe the brewery buildings were part of the deal, no idea.

  3. Maclays beers are now brewed on rotation at the Maclay Inns owned, Clockwork beer company pub and microbrewery in Glasgow. Maclay Inns are still headquartered in Alloa.

  4. Sleemans in Canada also brew Maclays branded beer under licence but it is a typical Canadian lager with the Maclays branding on the label/can. Bears no resemblance to the beer which came out of the Thistle Brewery/

  5. Now Maclay Inns have gone out of business, it is unclear who currently owns the Maclays beer recipes. Stonegate bought the pubs but not the brewing side of the business. If anyone knows who owns the beer recipes, please tweet to @MaclaysAlloaAle.

    1. I suppose the first port of call would be to ask the company liquidators.


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