Kilmarnock Brewery

Business: James Brown and Co

Location: Kilmarnock

Type: Brewery

The Kilmarnock Brewery in Grange Street, also known as Townend Brewery, is believed to have been founded in 1780 by Thomas Greenshields, who also owned the Catrine Brewery. Thomas acquired ownership of the land in 1789, and the brewery was operated successively by him and his nephew, Thomas, latterly in partnership with John Thomson 

John Thomson was the head of various partnerships which ran the brewery until 1858, when it passed into the hands of Brown & McCaw. That business failed in 1860, and in 1861 the unexpired lease of the Kilmarnock Brewery was offered for sale. The business was restarted by Moyes & Gowans, and in 1869 the brewery passed to the firm of Gowans & Brown, which lasted until 1877.

James Storrar Brown, one of the partners in Gowans & Brown, then established James Brown & Co. in 1880. The company ran the brewery until it was closed in 1912 and sold to the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society. By 1963 it was being used as a bacon factory and was later described as "a group of 1- and 2- storey buildings around a courtyard, with a truncated pyramidal-roofed kiln."

Map of 1857 showing the layout of the Kilmarnock Brewery
Map of 1857 showing the layout of the Kilmarnock Brewery
© National Library of Scotland, 2023.

Active: 1780 - 1912

Status: Demolished


Kilmarnock Brewery
A sketch of the Kilmarnock Brewery by Thomas Smellie in 1858


The site has since been cleared and is occupied by a mix of housing, offices, and commercial buildings.


Other Sources of information

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.

Smellie, T. Sketches of old Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock, Thomas Smellie, 1898.