Friday, 1 June 2012

The ghosts of Edinburgh United Breweries linger on

When Knops Beer revived black cork last year, a beer name that once made Edinburgh’s Bell’s brewery famous, I didn’t imagine that it would be so soon that another skeleton from the tomb of Edinburgh United Breweries would get disturbed.

Along with Disher’s and Bell’s, one of the four breweries Edinburgh United Breweries was formed to take over was Robin, McMillan & Co.’s Summerhall Brewery near the Meadows. In the process of consolidation by EUB, the Summerhall Brewery was closed and the site became The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, which was later subsumed into the University of Edinburgh. Another parallel: decades later, after the collapse of EUB, the University also acquired the site of Bell’s brewery and used it for its physical education department.

The “Dick Vet” moved to a new campus on the outskirts of the city last year, and Summerhall has been transformed into a trendy new arts centre. I don’t know the details of this set-up but it seems a similar project to what has been done with the old Truman brewery in East London — with one important difference, in that in Edinburgh, brewing will be returning to the site!

Tanks being moved in (Photo nicked from Barney’s Facebook page)

Barney’s brewery, which has been operating from Falkirk, has been granted planning permission to operate at Summerhall and equipment is already being moved in. It’s great to see brewing returning to the heart of Edinburgh; although I doubt any brewer will be able to afford to brew on the North Back of the Canongate in the future as they once did.

Now we just need someone to start brewing Disher’s Ten Guinea Ale again.


  1. I've a whole series of posts about Edinburgh United Breweries planned. Especially their spectacular demise.

  2. The latest SBAA journal has a big article on the duty fraud scandal, did you get that one?

  3. Yes, I do. I've been digging around in the newspaper archive and the Brewers' Journal, too.