Belhaven

Belhaven lays claim to being the oldest independent brewery in Scotland and one of the oldest in Britain. Its history as a commercial brewery is well documented back to the year 1719, although it is probable that a brewery has existed on the site pre16th century, as the wells and some of the cellar vaults in the brewery are known to date from around the time of the Reformation. The coming of the railway to Dunbar in 1846 greatly facilitated the dispatch of beer to inland destinations, but conversely exposed the country breweries such as Belhaven to competition from their larger counterparts. By the early 20th century, most of the smaller Scottish breweries had succumbed to the competition and were either closed or amalgamated into their urban counterparts. However, Dudgeon & Co (the previous name of the Belhaven Brewery) continued malting and brewing throughout both world wars – the military being a notable customer for Belhaven Beers. In July 1996, the Company carried out a successful flotation on the London Stock Exchange and has recently changed its name to the Belhaven Group Plc to reflect the growing retail sales and pub acquisitions programme. Over the last decade, there has been a drive towards continuous improvement in three main aspects of the brewery operations, namely – quality, reduction in energy costs and plant modernisation. All these developments (and more) can be seen during the Brewery Tour which is an excellent example of the marriage of tradition with new technology and allows the visitor to experience a sense of history as well as an understanding of how fine beers are brewed and packaged.