Ayr Brewery

Business: Turners Ayr and Newton Breweries Ltd

Location: Ayr

Type: Brewery

The Ayr Brewery was built in Mill Street by James Watson and John Brown, who had already established a successful business in Newton-upon-Ayr through their partnership of Watson & Brown.

The site lay close to the River Ayr and was originally part of lands belonging to the Dominicans, or Black Friars, which were located off Mill Vennel, later known as Mill Street.

The brewery was built to the plans of Alexander Davidson and consisted of "a group of 2- and 3-storey rubble buildings, of which the largest is a 3-storey, 5-bay block with an elliptical-arched cart entry".  The foundation stone was laid on the 14th September 1833.

After the partnership of Watson & Brown was dissolved in 1850 the brewery was operated by the firm of James Watson & Son, then James Watson (1851-1884), and later James Watson & Co (1884-1898). Finally, in 1898, the brewery was acquired as part of the setting up of Turner's Ayr & Newton Breweries Ltd.

A second well, 315 ft. deep, was bored in 1900 by J. Henderson & Sons of Glasgow. Brewing ceased at the Ayr Brewery around 1912 and the buildings were used for a time by a subsidiary of Turner's: the Western Contracting Company.

The site is now occupied by a modern housing development.

Map of 1855 showing the layout of the Ayr Brewery
© National Library of Scotland, 2015

Active: 1833 - 1912

Address: Mill Street

Status: Demolished


Ayr Brewery
This picture shows part of the brewery in the latter half of the 19th century, with the brewery house in the foreground and two carts filled with barrels in the background.


The buildings were demolished in 1972 and the site is now occupied by housing.

Other Sources of information

Web resources

Canmore has a number of records relating to the Ayr Brewery. Last accessed 19th July 2016.

Books and periodicals

Close, R. The forgotten breweries of Scotland: Turner's Ayr and Newton Breweries Ltd. Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter, 1987, 10, pp.10-12.

Donnachie, I. A history of the brewing industry in Scotland. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1979.

Gibb, F. and Close, R. The brewers and breweries of Ayrshire, Buteshire and Renfrewshire. Stirling: Lomax Press, 2013.

Hume, J. R. The industrial archaeology of Scotland, 1: The Lowlands and Borders. London: B. T. Batsford, 1976.