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George Thompson & Craig Allan as Brewers at The Gothenburg

New 'Team Fowler's' as Floor rebuilt and Iain Turnbull Retires

As regulars will have noted this past two months, the Fowler's Ales microbrewery has been out of action as the flooring has necessarily been replaced. Our original construction did not enjoy the cask bashing it got, and the entire surface has been relaid. Brewing will begin again before end February and, as importantly, the postponed BrewSets can also thereafter be convened.

Sad to report Iain Turnbull, who set our whole microbrewery and its Fowler's Ales back on track throughout 2004, will not be with us as we go back into production. His wife Louise has been poorly for many months and Iain simply cannot work the unsociable hours required and properly care for her. [Many thanks Iain for all you accomplished and we all certainly expect to see you in The Gothenburg as time permits in future!]

Iain has passed over the most senior part of his baton to George Thompson, the individual who actually 'built' the microbrewery early 2004 - but not the floor he quickly adds! But as so often when a pioneer leaves it takes two to replace him ... and George is now admirably complemented by Craig Allan who will like Iain be in post throughout the week although at times he will be playing other strings from his bow as his profile below suggests he might.


Its always important for a microbrewery to let its supporters know who is making the ales we all drink, and who will be leading the BrewSets.

George Thompson takes office as Fowler's Ales 'Consulting' Brewer, 'consulting' because he is still at work building microbreweries around the globe and has an entrepreneurial stake in several of the installations he has built already. He brings 25 years experience to the role.

In particular George will be the Head of Fowler's School of Brewing, where enthusiasts can always join BrewSets. As many readers will know they can by this route proceed to Fowler's Fellowships and Companionships.

Both George and Craig Allan incidentally are graduates of Herriot Watt University - George took his Post-graduate Diploma in 1979 and Craig the same award in 1998.

After his graduation, George's career path took him to Watney Mann Truman and to brewing in Craigmillar. But then he took an unusual turn which could fortell his abiding interest in the Gothenburg Principles [and maybe even pressage a new beverage in our bars]. He went to work with ASDA as Production Manager of Europe's most advanced liquid milk dairy, but after that experience decided to make his way back as Production Manager with Dunbar brewer Belhaven by the end of the 1980s.

By 1997 his off-duty hobby as a consultant to small breweries led to the establishment of his own enterprise, Brewing Solutions, of which he is Managing Director - a joint enterprise with fellow Herriot Watt graduate Brendan Dobbin. Since that date they have built more than 30 microbreweries from the northern tip of Norway [the most northerly brewery in the world] to the Campo de Gibraltar, and from County Clare in Ireland to Sunny Beach Bulgaria.

Meanwhile Craig Allan eschewed milk and took a keen interest in whisky and wine. After graduating in both biochemistry and brewing/ distilling from Herriot Watt, Craig went to Aviemore Brewing as an Assistant Brewer making real ales and creating new recipes. Next he went to the Scottish Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh where he led tasting parties astray and was responsible for running their bar. But he gave all that up for a two year travelling sojurn in France working successively in one of Beaune's 'organic' vineyards, at Chateau de Puligny in Puligny-Montrachet and finally in Santenay at La Domaine des Hautes Cornieres where he completed his Diploma in Vine Culture and Winemaking.

... but beer was in his genes. He has a great grandfather who was a cooper and a grandfather who was a brewer both at Fowler's in Prestonpans; and the pictures to prove it. So what more natural place for him to come than to Fowler's 21st Century reincarnation, working as Fowler's Brewer himself at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg.

But rest assured he shall not be letting all that wine knowledge go to waste. His role also includes: Advice on The Gothenburg's Wine lists including selection and labelling of the House Wines; Wine Tastings on a regular basis with customers; and [as just a gleam in the eye] the growing of our 'own' vines in Jim Forster's south facing microculture at The Gothenburg!

Give Them a Great Welcome ... and Feedback Please!

Please call in to chat with George and Craig whenever you can, and if you are a potential BrewSet member make early contact now for the next available dates - Phone 01875 819922 or email

And let them know what you think of their brews... they have lots of ideas including their own lager and wee heavie before too long.

Published Date: February 4th 2005

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