Thistle Brewery

Business: Maclay and Co Ltd

Location: Alloa

Type: Brewery

The Thistle Brewery was built by James Maclay in anticipation of the ending of his lease on the Mills Brewery. He moved into the brewery in November 1875 but died suddenly a month later.

The brewery was then taken on by his sons James and John, trading as J. & J. Maclay.

The brewery and associated maltings were put up for sale in 1881, following the dissolution of the partnership, when it was promoted as being "very compact, the working expenses are consequently small".

The brewery was acquired in around 1882 by Robert and John Ramsay, two brothers who ran a bottling business in Dunfermline. They traded as Maclay & Co, and then converted the business into a limited company in 1896 - Maclay & Co Ltd.

Brewing ceased in 1999 as a consequence of a strategy to focus on the company's pub group. Most of the site has been redeveloped as a retail and housing complex, but a small part still stands, now in use as a pub.

Map of 1920 showing the site of the Thistle Brewery
Map of 1920 showing the site of the Thistle Brewery
© National Library of Scotland, 2015

Active: 1875 - 1999

Address: Mill Road

Status: Part survives

Current Use: Pub


Thistle Brewery
This picture shows the brewery in the 1960s.
© John Hume, 2015


Part of the brewery survives in Mill Road as a pub called, appropriately, the Old Brewery.

Other Sources of information

Web resources

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

Books and periodicals

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

McMaster, C. Alloa Ale: a history of the brewing industry in Alloa. Edinburgh: Alloa Brewery Company, 1985.