Caledonian Brewery closure: Edinburgh’s historic Caledonian Brewery announces closure after more than 150 years

Edinburgh’s historic Caledonian 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.

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

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Announcing the closure on Wednesday afternoon, the Dutch brewer said it now has 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.

Edinburgh's Caledonian Brewery is closing its doors. Photo: Google Maps

The 30 remaining workers at the plant on Slateford Road will now enter into a period of consultation with management over their future.

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

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“We’re acutely aware of what the brewery represents in Edinburgh, and its role in the history and heritage of brewing in Scotland – this is something we’re incredibly proud of,” said Callan.

“Our primary focus is the 30 colleagues based there and we’ll now enter into a period of consultation.

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“The sad fact is, its Victorian infrastructure means significant inefficiencies and costs, particularly as it is operating below capacity. To modernise the brewery, and to meet our own sustainability commitments, would require considerable ongoing investment, which would make operating the brewery economically unviable.”

“The sad fact is, its Victorian infrastructure means significant inefficiencies and costs, particularly as it is operating below capacity. To modernise the brewery, and to meet our own sustainability commitments, would require considerable ongoing investment, which would make operating the brewery economically unviable.”

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Matt Starbuck, Greene King brewing and brands managing director, said: “These brands are long loved in both Scotland and beyond and we are proud to be able to continue to brew them so they can be enjoyed by consumers and customers alike.”

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“This agreement underlines our commitment to Belhaven Brewery as Scotland’s oldest working brewery, and boosts our portfolio of already award-winning beers.”

Commenting on the news, Lothian MSP Miles Briggs, said: “I am sad to hear that the Caledonian Brewery is proposing closure after over 150 years brewing in the Capital.

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“It is important that all thirty members of staff are taken care of and supported in their transition into new roles.

“The distinctive malt smell which comes from the brewery is part of Edinburgh’s identity and will be missed.

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“If the closure goes ahead and the brewery is closed we must ensure that this iconic building is put to good use to best benefit people in Edinburgh.”

Joanna Cherry QC, MP for Edinburgh South West, said: “I am shocked to hear of these proposals by Heineken and the loss of skilled brewing jobs for the city is greatly concerning.

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“Retaining brands by outsourcing production under licence to Deuchars/Green King in East Lothian is no substitute for the loss of jobs and the heritage of brewing in Edinburgh.

“I am calling on the company to think again. Edinburgh has a proud history of brewing and a fantastic stream of highly qualified graduates from Herriot-Watt's international centre for Brewing and Distilling.”