Traquair House Brewery

Traquair House Brewery lies in the wing of the house directly underneath the Chapel

Traquair House Brewery

Traquair House Brewery lies in the wing of the house directly underneath the Chapel. It dates back to the early 1700’s and was originally a domestic brewery serving the house and the estate. It was disused in the early 1800’s but never dismantled. It gradually filled with the family junk until it was completely forgotten.

Peter Maxwell Stuart rediscovered the brewery in the early 1960’s and began brewing again as an experiment in 1965 using all the original equipment and fermenting the ales in the original oak tuns, some of which were over 200 years old. Footage has recently come to light showing the 20th Laird brewing with his daughter (the present 21st Lady of Traquair).

History of Traquair House Brewery (1700’s to 1970’s)

Brewing at Traquair originally took place in the kitchens of the house but in the early 1700’s the present brewery was established in one of the new wings built in 1694. During the eighteenth century most large country houses would have had a brewery as ale was considered a cheap and nutritional drink. At Traquair, it also appears to have been part of the servants’ wages!

The brew house was furnished with a 200 gallon copper bought in 1738 at the cost of £8 10s and wooden fermenting vessels made from Russian memel oak. The ale produced was either a strong dark ale or small beer which was made without using hops. By the early 1800’s there were many more commercial breweries and brewing at Traquair became an expensive luxury the family could not afford.

The brewery was closed and the brew house was left to become the repository for the family’s unwanted furniture and other junk. In 1965 my father, Peter Maxwell Stuart, the twentieth Laird, was undertaking a huge spring cleaning operation in order to open the house more fully to the public. When he discovered the brewery underneath centuries of family junk he was surprised to find the entire collection of brewing vessels and equipment had survived intact.

After a thorough cleaning operation the brewery was ready to be used again for the first time in one hundred and fifty years. Peter enlisted the help of a friend, Sandy Hunter of Belhaven Brewery and together they researched the Traquair archives and developed the recipe for a traditional Scottish Ale. The first brew took place in 1965 and the finished product was bottled at Belhaven and sold at Traquair. However, even at a price of 3/- (15p) per bottle it proved hard to sell.

During the next few years the Laird continued brewing several times a year and he also numbered each bottle with a brew and bottle number. These early bottles are now collector’s items.

1970’s to Present

In the 1970’s the ales gradually gained recognition as “real ales” became rediscovered by organisations such as CAMRA and Traquair was recognised a as a pioneer of micro-brewing. Production slowly increased and enquiries came from all over the world leading to our first export to the USA in the mid 1980’s.

In 1990, following Peter’s death, his daughter, Catherine, took over the running of the brewery and it was expanded in 1994. Traquair employs 2 full time brewers and its rich dark ales are now exported all over the world although production remains tiny at only 1,000 hectalites a year.

History of Traquair House Brewery (1970’s to Present Day)

In the 1970’s the Campaign for Real Ale became an important consumer movement that revived and interest in traditional beer and championed small independent breweries. Traquair was rightfully recognised as a pioneer in its field and demand for the ale increased.

The brewery received an increasing amount of media coverage and the quality of the ale was also praised. It achieved the highest accolade in Michael Jackson’s World Guide to Beer which sparked interest from overseas,

Commemorative brews were produced such as the 100th Brew, the 250th, Silver Wedding Ale and even a 21st Birthday for Peter’s daughter Catherine.

In the mid 1980’s the first brewer was employed and the first exports undertaken to the USA closely followed by Japan.

In 1990 following my father’s death I took over the management of the brewery.

Demand for the ales continued to grow both in the UK and overseas and in 1993 the brewery was expanded into the adjoining stable block which doubled the production capacity.

The brewery now employs two full time brewers who brew twice weekly with a weekly output of around 500 gallons.

The recipe has not changed and ingredients are sourced locally where possible. The exception is the hops which are East Kent Goldings, a rare and old fashioned variety.

The original ale produced was The Traquair House Ale (ABV 7.2%). This has now been joined by the Traquair Jacobite Ale (ABV 8%) which is spiced with coriander and based on an eighteenth century recipe. Traquair Bear Ale (ABV 5%) which is the lightest in the range and is also sold on draught locally and in Edinburgh.

The brewery now produces around 250,000 bottles each year and approximately 60% is exported to the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

The ales have won numerous awards and in a few years ago the brewery was voted 20th best brewery in the world by the consumer website ratebeer.com a real tribute to the quality of the ales produced from this tiny brewery.

How the Beer is Brewed

  1. Malted barley is mixed or “sparged” with boiling water in the mash tun. In the old brewery at Traquair water was originally drawn up from the well. The brewery continues to use water drawn from a natural spring. The wort is drawn off into the Underback below.
  2. The wort is pumped up to the copper (purchased in 1738) and heated from below. Originally by means of a wood fire, now gas flame is employed. At this point the leaf hops is added and the boil lasts approximately 2 hours.
  3. The liquor is now transferred to the open coolers and cooled to the required temperature.
  4. The next stage is for the liquor to be transferred from the coolers into the old oak tuns in the Tun Room next door. Some of these tuns are original and over 200 years old. Traquair is the only UK brewery left fermenting its beer in unlined oak vessels.
  5. The yeast is now added and the ale is left to ferment for 3-5 days.

Stockists

Kris Wines

Kris Wines

394 York Way
London
N7 9LW

Tatton Park

Tatton Park

Tatton Park
Knutsford
Cheshire
WA16 6QN

Westmorland Farm Shop

Westmorland Farm Shop

Westmorland Place
Orton
CA10 3SB

Tate Modern

Tate Modern

Bankside
London
SE1 9TG

Rothbury Wines

Rothbury Wines

Townfoot
Morpeth
NE65 7SL

Craft Rebellion

Craft Rebellion

Office 7
35-37 Ludgate Hill
London
EC4M 7JN

The Colliers Farm Shop and Tea Room

The Colliers Farm Shop and Tea Room

Tenbury Road
Clows Top
DY14 9HA

Beer Hawk

Beer Hawk

16 Throp Arch Ind. Est.
Ash Way
Wetherby
LS23 7FU

Beer Direct

Beer Direct

10 Ferndale Cl
Werrington
Stoke-on-Trent
ST9 0PW

Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail

58-60 South Street
Elgin
Moray
IV30 1JX

Corn Exchange

Corn Exchange

26 West High Street
Crieff
PH7 4DL

The Fine Wine Company

The Fine Wine Company

25 High Street
Musselburgh
East Lothian
EH21 7AD

The Community Hub

The Community Hub

Community Hub, the School
Eskdalemuir
Langholm
DG13 0QJ

Drygate Brewing Company

Drygate Brewing Company

85 Drygate
Glasgow
G4 0UT

Valhalla’s Goat

Valhalla’s Goat

449 Great Western Rd
Glasgow
G12 8HH

Waitrose Helensburgh

Waitrose Helensburgh

Cardross Road
Helensburgh
Argyll & Bute
G84 7LA

Waitrose Glasgow-Byres Road

Waitrose Glasgow-Byres Road

373 Byres Road
Glasgow
G12 8AU

Waitrose Newton Mearns

Waitrose Newton Mearns

2 Greenlaw Place
Newton Mearns
East Renfrewshire
G77 6GW

The Cave

The Cave

421 Great Western Rd
Glasgow
G4 9JA

Waitrose Morningside

Waitrose Morningside

145 Morningside Road
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH10 4AX

Waitrose Comely Bank

Waitrose Comely Bank

38 Comely Bank Road
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH4 1AW

Vino Stockbridge

Vino Stockbridge

26 North West Circus Place
Edinburgh
EH3 6TP

Vino Comiston Rd

Vino Comiston Rd

32-34 Comiston Rd
Edinburgh
EH10 5QE

Vino Broughton St

Vino Broughton St

30 Broughton St
Edinburgh
EH1 3SB

Vino Grange Loan

Vino Grange Loan

1 Grange Loan
Edinburgh
EH9 2NP

Avenue Stores

Avenue Stores

36 Blackford Ave
Edinburgh
EH9 2PP

Great Grog

Great Grog

2 Dalkeith Road,
Edinburgh,
EH16 5JU

Drinkmonger

Drinkmonger

11 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh
EH10 4HN

Villeneuve Wines

Villeneuve Wines

Villeneuve Wines Limited
49A Broughton St
Edinburgh
EH1 3RJ

Cornelius Beer & Wine

Cornelius Beer & Wine

18-20 Easter Rd
Edinburg
EH7 5RG

The Teviot Game Fare Smokery

The Teviot Game Fare Smokery

Kirkbank House
Eckford
Kelso
Roxburghshire
TD5 8LE

Abbey Wines/Rhymer's Fayre

Abbey Wines/Rhymer's Fayre

17 Market Square
Melrose
TD6 9PL

The Main Street Trading Company

The Main Street Trading Company

Main Street
St Boswells
Scottish Borders
TD6 0AT

The Gordon Arms

The Gordon Arms

Yarrow Valley
Scottish Borders
TD7 5LE

Osso Restaurant

Osso Restaurant

Innerleithen Road
Peebles
EH45 8BA

The Horseshoe Inn

The Horseshoe Inn

Eddleston
Peebles
Scotland,
EH45 8QP

Franco's

Franco's

Port Brae
Peeble
EH45 8AW

Traquair Arms Hotel

Traquair Arms Hotel

Traquair Arms Hotel
Innerleithen
Peeblesshire
EH44 6PD

Born in the Borders

Born in the Borders

Born in the Borders
Lanton Mill
Jedburgh
TD8 6ST

Villeneuve Wines

Villeneuve Wines

Villeneuve Wines Limited
1 Venlaw Court
Peebles
EH45 8AE

Trade Enquiries

For trade enquiries and wholesale price lists please contact enquiries@traquair.co.uk, telephone 01896 830323 or click the button below.

Reviews

This is the most amazing beer ever.  I love the taste of it.  The coriander flavor is not so overpowering and it marries well with the oak taste.  I would buy a case of this in a heartbeat if I could afford it.

Anonymous

Have just had a bottle of the above for the first time, for breakfast and it was very very tasty.

James M - Feb '17

I just wanted to say I love this beer very much and I have placed your brewery on my bucket list if I ever get back to Scotland.

Annette S - Jun '16

Love your beer!  I would like to thank you and everyone who works at Traquair for creating a great range of beer. I have been drinking beer from your range and I could not be happier with the quality of the products that I have received. During the last year and a half I have discovered ‘real’ beer.  Your company produces my favourite range of refreshing, unique, interesting and beautify crafted beers.

Anonymous

I am not sure if this is the best place to write this but to make a long story short I am from the United States and I was lucky to be able to find your Jacobite Ale . . . my first sip sent me into euphoria.

Anonymous, United States

I hope that you continue to brew fantastic beer and I look forward to future brews. Also, thank you for showing me there is more out there than tasteless mass produced larger! I will continue to support your company, not only because I tremendously enjoy your beer, but I think it is important to support a British brewery.

William T - Feb '17