Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Reference code(s): GB 1127 SNM
Title: Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd, brewers, Edinburgh, Scotland
Date(s): 1741-1991
Extent and medium of the unit of description: 8.6 metres
Physical characteristics and technical requirements: There are no physical characteristics that affect the use of this material
Repository: Scottish Brewing Archive
Name of creator(s): William McEwan & Co Ltd (brewers : 1889 - : Edinburgh, Scotland)
Level of Description: fonds Published by: Scottish Brewing Archive 20 March 2002
Language of Material: ENG

Administrative/Biographical History

William McEwan, the son of John McEwan, shipowner of Alloa, Scotland, was born in 1827. He served his apprenticeship with John Jeffrey, an Edinburgh brewer, and established his own business, the Fountain Brewery, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1856. He quickly established a large Scottish market and in the 1860s built up a successful colonial export trade. His sister married James Younger, an Alloa brewer, and one of their sons, William, joined his uncle's business. When William McEwan entered politics in 1886, William Younger became the firm's manager. William McEwan & Co Ltd was registered in July 1889 as a limited liability company to acquire the business at a purchase price of £408,000. The company acquired the trade and goodwill of Alexander Melvin & Co, Boroughloch Brewery, Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, in 1907. It merged with William Younger & Co Ltd, Abbey Brewery, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, through Scottish Brewers Ltd, in 1931. The Fountain Brewery continues to brew under the control of Scottish Courage Brewing Ltd (formerly Scottish & Newcastle Beer Production Ltd), Edinburgh.

Source: Richmond, Lesley and Turton, Alison (eds). The Brewing Industry. A Guide to Historical Records (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press)

Scope and Content

  • Memorandum and articles of association 1889-1956
  • Minute books 1889-1951
  • Records relating to directors' meetings 1924
  • Minutes of members' meetings 1889-1955
  • Records relating to members' meetings 1890-1955
  • Annual reports and notices to shareholders 1930-1957
  • Seal book 1947-1963
  • Shareholding records 1889-1955
  • Letterbooks 1856-1912
  • Financial records 1856-1965
  • Patents and trademarks 1894
  • Production records 1897-1979
  • Sales records 1881-1925
  • Staff records 1873-1939
  • Licensed premises records 1954-1958
  • Property records 1899-1958
  • Promotional material 1870s-1964
  • Public relations 1910-1991
  • Family papers 1741-1870
  • Photographs 1907-1960s
  • Historical notes 1939-1989

System of Arrangement

The material is arranged according to the Scottish Brewing Archive classification scheme used within all SBA collections.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was previously stored at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. It moved to the University of Glasgow in 1991. More material has been deposited since 1991.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scottish & Newcastle plc, National Archives of Scotland and former employees

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1127 procedures



Access Conditions


Copyright / Conditions governing reproduction

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Scottish Brewing Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Language of material


Existence and location of copies

No known copies

Further Information

Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom

Existence and location of originals

This material is original

Related Units of Description

GB 1127 SB: Records of Scottish Brewers Ltd

GB 1127 SNB: Records of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries

GB 1127 WY: Records of William Younger & Co Ltd

GB 1127 AM: Records of Alexander Melvin & Co

GB 1127 ARTEFACTS: Scottish Brewing Archive Artefacts Collection

GB 800001: Records of William McEwan & Co Ltd (private collection, enquiries to National Register of Archives for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland)

Publication note

Ritchie, Berry . Good Company. The Story of Scottish & Newcastle (London: James & James, 1999)

Donnachie, Ian ."Men of Brewing. William McEwan." Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 5 (Summer 1985)

McMaster, Charles . "A Short History of Slateford Maltings" Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 14 (Spring 1989)

Topen, Alma . "William McEwan. The Early Years." Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 23 (Summer 1994)

Dean, Paul . "The Silver Peacock Trade Mark." Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 24 (Winter 1994/95)

Topen, Alma . "William McEwan. The Photographs". Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 24 (Winter 1994/95)

Innes, Walter . "Bottling Beer at William McEwan & Co before 1939." Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 24 (Winter 1994/95)

"The Stink [Report from William McEwan Letter Book about Problem of Summer-Brewed Beers, 1905]" Scottish Brewing Archive Newsletter No 25 (Summer 1995)

Fonds-level description compilation details

Fonds level description compiled by Natalie Milne, Archive Assistant (Hub), Tuesday 20 November 2001

Fonds-level description alterations

Revised by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 20 March 2002