Robert and John Ramsay, two brothers who ran a bottling business in Dunfermline, acquired the Thistle Brewery, and associated maltings, in around 1882, following the dissolution of the partnership of J. & J. Maclay.
The business then traded under the name Maclay & Co. In 1888 two new partners, Alexander Fraser and James Drummond, were assumed, and the following year the Ramsay brothers sold them their interest in the company.
The company's trademark was a thistle.
Amongst the beers produced by the firm were Imperial Stout and Oatmalt Stout, the latter of which won a Prize Medal at the Vienna Exhibition in 1894.
In 1896 it was decided to convert the business into a limited company - Maclay & Co Ltd.
It passed through the hands of a number of owners until it was finally acquired by the Matthew family in 1991. It remained operational until 1999, when its closure brought a long history of brewing in Alloa to an end.
Part of the Thistle Brewery survives in Mill Road as a pub called, appropriately, the Old Brewery.
The University of Glasgow Archive Services holds papers in its Scottish Brewing Archive from 1824-1993 (Ref : GB 1127 M).
Books and periodicals
Anon. Dunfermline slander case. Dundee Courier, 9th June 1890.
McMaster, C. Alloa Ale: a history of the brewing industry in Alloa. Edinburgh: Alloa Brewery Company, 1985.