The beginning of beer

We’ve been on this adventure for over 150 years. Here you can discover the trials
and tribulations that have made us stronger and our beer better.

  • 1865:

    Fire at the Theatre Royal

    George Lorimer Senior is killed trying to save a labourer trapped in the church next door. George Lorimer Junior, then 18 and working as a tea-broker in London, returns to Edinburgh.

    Fire at the Theatre Royal
  • 1868:

    The Partnership Begins

    George Lorimer Jr. inherits his father’s fortune. He meets Robert Clark in the Golf Tavern, Bruntsfield. They strike up a friendship and discuss a possible business venture in brewing.

    The Partnership Begins
  • 1869:

    A Brewery is Born

    Lorimer and Clark’s Caledonian Brewery opens its doors for the very first time, perfectly located next to the new Caledonian Railway Line on Slateford Road.

    A Brewery is Born
  • 1870-1900s:

    Open for Business

    The business holds its own and quickly starts to thrive.

    Open for Business
  • Early 1900s:

    Crossing the Border

    The Caledonian beers go down a storm in the south, cleansing the dust from the throats of industrial England’s miners.

    Crossing the Border
  • 1919:

    Expansion

    Brewing giant Vaux is impressed by the success of Lorimer’s Scotch and decides to take a stake in the brewery.

    Expansion
  • 1947:

    Takeover

    Post WW2, Vaux is one of several brewers to invest in the lucrative Scottish market, taking full control of the Caledonian Brewery.

    Takeover
  • 1986:

    Under Threat

    The market has changed, dominated by big brands of keg beer and lager. Vaux pulls out of Scotland – and the Caledonian Brewery

    Under Threat
  • 1987:

    Resurrection

    Head brewer Russell Sharp and managing director Dan Kane lead a buy-out, rescuing the business and relaunching in the empty Victorian brewhouse as the Caledonian Brewery Company.

    Resurrection
  • 1990:

    A World First

    Caley’s creates the clean and crisp Golden Promise ale, the first organically brewed beer in the world.

    A World First
  • 1991:

    Innovation for the Nation

    A modern twist on an Indian Pale Ale, Deuchars IPA ushers in a new era of brewing, allowing lager drinkers to finally discover the joy of cask ales.

    Innovation for the Nation
  • 1994:

    Disaster Strikes

    A fire causes damage that will take two years and £3,000,000 to repair. The original brew house survives the blaze, the rest is rebuilt in period style with strictly traditional materials.

    Disaster Strikes
  • 1998:

    Brews of Steel

    Fire sweeps through the site once again. This time, the brewery is back up and brewing within a week. Deuchars IPA is voted Champion Beer of Scotland.

    Brews of Steel
  • 2004:

    Staying Power

    Scottish & Newcastle buy a 30% share in Caledonian so it can continue brewing within Edinburgh following the closure of their Fountainbridge site

    Staying Power
  • 2008:

    Double Takeover

    Scottish & Newcastle buy the remaining 70% of Caledonian, but Scottish & Newcastle are then bought by Heineken. Caledonian remains an independent company under the Heineken umbrella.

    Double Takeover
  • 2015:

    The Adventure Awaits

    Caledonian introduces Wee George, a pilot brewery named after their pioneering founder, where two young brewers tinker away creating innovative craft brews.

    The Adventure Awaits