Caledonian Brewery celebrates anniversary with family gathering

The historic Caledonian Brewery on Edinburgh’s Slateford Road has celebrated its 150th anniversary with a mammoth gathering of relatives of one of the co-founders.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 11:00 pm
A total of 115 members of the Lorimer family attended the festivities at the Heineken-owned brewery. Picture: contributed.

The brewery was set up in 1869 by George Lorimer and Robert Clark, and 115 members of the Lorimer family from around the world attended the festivities.

Four generations came from as far afield as New Zealand and Canada, with the oldest – aged 97 – the last remaining grandchild of George Lorimer. The event was hosted by Heineken, which owns the brewery, and guests were able to tour the site and learn more about their family ties over a pint of Lorimer’s Best Scotch beer, a one-off reincarnation of the 1960s brew of the same name. Music came from the Caledonian Pipe Band who also started at the brewery and still practice there.

The Caledonian is the last of more than 40 breweries that stood in Edinburgh’s “charmed circle” at the time of its genesis, and twice came close to burning down. Heineken said that since its acquisition in 2008, it has continued to employ traditional methods, brewing the flagship Deuchars IPA in The Caley’s open copper boilers, adding that it is the only brewery in the UK to use this technique.

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Tim Lorimer, great-grandson of George, first mentioned organising the event more than three years ago, and didn’t realise how big it would become. “I think George would be very proud of what the brewery has become today and the quality and reputation the beers have for people to travel over 12,000 miles… it really is a true piece of Edinburgh’s history.”  

Matt Callan, brewing director for Heineken UK, said: “George Lorimer’s legacy lives on at The Caley as we continue to brew beers right in the heart of Edinburgh.”