Scottish & Newcastle completed closing one of Edinburgh’s last breweries this week. The move was announced last year, and the last batch of beer was brewed early in June.
The Fountain Brewery opened in 1856 and at its peak produced about two million barrels of beer per year, but more recently operated at 50% of capacity. Started by William McEwan with money borrowed from his family, it once covered 25 acres and employed 700 workers.
S&N said it shut the brewery because of over capacity within its network and fierce competition in the beer market. About 170 workers lost their jobs, with about 30 workers moving to nearby Caledonian brewery.
S&N will continue to make its McEwan’s brands in Scotland but moved the bulk of production from the Fountain south to another S&N brewery in Yorkshire.
Dougie Baillie, one of the last to work in the plant, said: “I spent a lot of time in England delivering beer and the English people always liked Scottish beers but now they’re almost doing away with it, they’re just keeping it local around here. S&N in particular are just going with four big power brands.”