Caledonian Brewery to tap into craft beer market

The team are, back row, Keith Garson, Caledonian managing director Andy Maddock, Bruce Murray; front, Ross O'Hara and Peter Sharp. Picture: Contributed
The team are, back row, Keith Garson, Caledonian managing director Andy Maddock, Bruce Murray; front, Ross O'Hara and Peter Sharp. Picture: Contributed
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It’s the last of the Capital’s original breweries and the home of pub favourites such as Deuchars IPA.

Now Caledonian Brewery is set to tap into the increasingly popular craft brewing market by embarking on an innovative new pilot scheme.

This innovation allows us to remain fleet of foot and enter the world of craft beers

Andy Maddock

The new “brewery within a brewery”, located at the company’s Slateford Road base, will produce two to three test brews every week as part of an experimental line – with the most successful then being scaled up for wider production in the main facility.

Dubbed “Wee George” after the brewery’s founder, George Lorimer, the £100,000 pilot centre has 400 litres of capacity and can fill bottles of all sizes, plus casks and kegs.

Bosses hope the project will help bring a variety of bold new beers to drinkers which can then be marketed in supermarkets, pubs and restaurants across the UK.

Andy Maddock, managing director of Caledonian Brewery, said he was “thrilled” the new pilot was up and running after 12 months of planning and investment.

He said: “This innovation allows us to remain fleet of foot in the market and help Caledonian enter the world of modern craft beers on the back of our continued success of Three Hop Lager.

“Our team is certainly excited about being able to indulge in their passion for crafting top quality and original brews.

“We’ve invested heavily in our core range over the last year so now that we’re confident our premium traditional ales are at their very best, it’s time to get a little bit creative with our beer innovation.

“We have always brewed by hand in Edinburgh with relentless inventiveness – watch this space to share our love of beer.”

The installation follows a 12-month renovation of Caledonian’s core range – led by flagship beers Deuchars IPA, Flying Scotsman and Edinburgh Castle – aimed “strengthening Caledonian’s position as a historic brewer of quality beers” and ensuring consistency across the products.

The shake-up also saw investment in raw ingredients, with a move from dried to fresh-pack full-leaf hops, and improved yeast propagation and consistency in brew runs.

Caledonian Brewery is owned by Heineken and is the last of more than 40 breweries that operated in Edinburgh during the 19th century.

Founded in 1869 as the Lorimer and Clark Caledonian Brewery – named after its founders, George Lorimer and Robert Clark – Caledonian still brews its beers almost entirely by hand using what are believed to be the last direct fire open coppers in Europe.

As well as popular beers such as 80/- and Deuchars IPA, the site is also the home of four seasonal beers and several monthly guest ales.

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com