| CHAPTER XII.
The Brewery—Cheating the Gauger—Employees—Description of the
Works, etc. —Old Brewery Well—Find of Old Coins—Ancient Dovecots—
Pump Wells—Water Courses—Rope and Sail Making—The Stevensons—
IF Prestonpans has been long famous for its salt, its oysters,
its pottery wares, and its soap, it has been long and no less
famous for its ale and its beer.T here were no less than sixteen
breweries in full going order at one time in the village.
But they have all been swamped, and one great flourishing
concern remains, known as—
At the present time there are forty men and boys connected
with the brewery. There are ten travellers employed daily
pushing the trade throughout the country, and a staff of six
clerks continually in the office. There are also two agencies
connected with the business, one established at Glasgow, the
other at Leith. In order to show what gives employment to
all these hands, it may be added there are no less than 6,000
quarters of malt used annually, turning out from 24,000 to
25,000 barrels of thirty-six gallons each, representing a
money value of from; £60, 000 to £65, 000.
The following extract we have from " Bernard's Noted
Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, " which speaks
for itself: —
" The old brewery of Prestonpans, which is said to have
been built about the year 1720, came into the hands of the
Fowler family prior to the year 1756. Reference is made to
it in an old work, which states that ' the brewery has been
long at work, and has enjoyed large fame for the good quality
of its ales. '
" The first name mentioned in the deeds of the brewery
is Robert Fowler, of whom it is recorded that he purchased
some property, to be used for brewing, in the year 1774. Robert
Fowler was succeeded by John Fowler, his son, who was born
July 9th 1756, and died at the advanced age of eighty-three
years. This John Fowler, who was a laird, was a very notable
personage, and he is frequently mentioned in parish documents,
in 1809, as a brewer. As years rolled on, and the business
increased, the laird found it necessary to enlarge the brewhouse.
when the roof was raised, the vessels re-adjusted, and some
new ones added. He also built, in 1828, a new brewery, in
a most substantial manner, which is fully described in the
following pages. Laird Fowler was succeeded by Robert Hislop,
his nephew, who had previously managed the business with great
energy. Mr Hislop retired from the business in 1865, when
it was turned into a private limited company, under the management
of Mr R. White, who died in 1887. He was succeeded by his
son, the present managing partner, since whose advent the
output of the brewery has been more than doubled.
"The ales of Prestonpans have become a household word
in Scotland, and their reputation dates back more than a century.
J. Parker Lawson, in his work, speaks of Prestonpans ale as
a celebrated beverage, and the brewery extensive. But we must
now hasten to make our readers acquainted with this venerable
brewery and its fine business.
" On the east side of the ancient town of Prestonpans
stands Laird Fowler's brewery, and. in close proximity, its
numerous subsidiary mailings. The walls, and one or two outlying
buildings of the original brewery, are still standing, and
contain, among other things, a peculiarly shaped ten-barrel
brewing copper, and a quaint-looking old pump, which formed
a portion of the ancient plant. Equally interesting is the
laird's dwelling-house, a roomy low-pitched building, which
has been altered into a counting-house and offices, joined
on to which is a new structure, containing a board room, managing
partner's office, a sample room, and lavatories.
" The new brewery, built by Laird Fowler, is opposite
the old one, covers upwards of an acre of ground, and is situated
close to the margin of the sea. The premises consist of a
number of massive stone buildings, grouped around a courtyard,
the most important of which comprise the brewhouse, fermenting
rooms, and above-ground cellars. So close are these
buildings to the sea, that in rough weather the waves dash