Edinburgh Caledonian Brewery: 150-year-old brewery could become student flats as Heineken fails to find buyer

Hopes that Edinburgh’s historic Caledonian Brewery could continue operating have been dashed after no buyer was found – and now the landmark site could be turned into student accommodation, residential housing or even a hotel.

As reported in the Evening News in May, the iconic brewery is set to close, after more than 150 years of brewing in the Capital.

Established by George Lorimer and Robert Clark, Caledonian Brewery opened its doors for the very first time in 1869, perfectly located next to the new Caledonian Railway Line on Slateford Road.

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The brewery was bought by Scottish & Newcastle in 2008, becoming part of Heineken later that year when Heineken acquired S&N.

Hopes that Edinburgh’s historic Caledonian Brewery could continue operating have been dashed after no buyer was found.

Announcing the closure earlier this year, the Dutch brewer said it now had an agreement in principle with Greene King, which would see the brands currently produced at Caledonian – including Deuchars and Maltsmiths – produced at Greene King’s Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar.

Matt Callan, supply chain director of Heineken UK, said the company had “not taken this decision lightly”.

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Now, despite an extensive search, Heineken say they have been unable to secure a buyer to keep the Caledonian Brewery in operation.

In a letter this week to Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs, a spokesperson for Heineken said: “Despite an extensive search for a buyer for the site as a going concern, and then after that as a closed brewery, we have been unable to find a buyer who may be able to operate the site as a brewery.

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“We are therefore now in the process of marketing the 1.91-acre site for open sale.

“In terms of Edinburgh Council’s Local Development Plan, the site is located within the ‘urban area’. This means that the principle of alternative use including residential, employment, student accommodation, hotel and mixed-use development could all be supported.

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“We know this is not the preferred next stage for this historic site, but we have unfortunately not had any fully viable offers to keep the site as a production facility”.

Heineken added that of the 30 remaining workers at the plant on Slateford Road, 73 per cent have already secured their future.

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Commneting on the news, Mr Briggs told the Evening News: “It is disappointing that Heineken were unable to secure a buyer to keep the Caledonian Brewery in operation.

“Heineken have done a good job in transitioning employees of the brewery into new roles, but they must continue to support the people who are still looking for alternative roles.

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“It is important that we get input from the local community on the best use of this land and that the historic listed parts of the brewery are maintained.”

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