The Economic History Review

Additional Options

Volume 30 Issue 2
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Pages: OptionsAuthors: IAN DONNACHIE
Published online: February 11, 2008DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.1977.tb00265.x

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The formative years in the development of the Scottish brewing industry coincided with the classic Industrial Revolution between 1770 and 1830. The industry was well established by the middle of the eighteenth century, a number of important firms being founded about 1750. Capital found its way into Scottish brewing from various sources, mainly from agriculture and commerce. Merchants were among the leading groups of investors, which also included lawyers, accountants, and excisemen. Related trades, like malting, distilling, and corn-milling also provided capital. Brewing maintained close contact with the countryside, for many farmers invested in the industry in a modest way; and the waste products of the brewery (called “draff” in Scotland) were returned to the farm for fattening purposes. Most breweries were small, serving only local markets. But in the cities and growing towns, where a more concentrated market existed and transport was a lower proportion of costs, larger units quickly emerged. Urban brewers began to make inroads into country markets during the Industrial Revolution, and also to sell further afield by developing coastal and foreign trades. At the close of the period with which this study is concerned the Scottish brewing industry was becoming increasingly urban in character, dominated by large-scale production units, such as those in Edinburgh, Alloa, Falkirk, and Glasgow. This article examines two aspects of the Scottish brewing trade during the century 1750-1850 through, (i) an analysis of the main sources of capital, and (ii) a breakdown of the size of firms from legal records and insurance valuations.