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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 18:38 GMT
End of an era for city cask beer
McEwans 80/-
The Athletic Arms is one of 15 pubs which sells McEwan's 80/-
The last batch of the cask version of a beer brewed in Edinburgh has been made, ending decades of tradition in the Scottish capital.

McEwan's 80/- cask ale will cease to be sold in pubs across Scotland after next month.

Decreasing sales are being blamed for the Scottish & Newcastle product being withdrawn from sale.

The owner of The Athletic Arms in Edinburgh, where the beer is hugely popular, said he was disappointed.

An S&N spokesman said: "We can confirm that cask-conditioned McEwan's 80/- ale is being withdrawn from sale in January 2007.

'Decreasing sales'

"Consumer demand for the product has fallen to the level where it is no longer economic to continue production and decreasing sales have reached the point where they present a genuine risk to product quality.

"As a result, we believe it is in the best interests of our customers and consumers to cease brewing cask McEwan's 80/- ale with immediate effect and we are in the process of notifying our customers of this decision.

"McEwan's 80/- will continue to be available in its bigger-selling keg variant and we are confident that the majority of our customers will find a suitable substitute in our cask ale range, which includes the Edinburgh-brewed Caledonian 80/- ale."

Cask ale differs from keg ale, which is pasteurised and has gas added.

We currently order and consume one third of all McEwans 80/- drunk in Edinburgh and it makes up a quarter of our sales
Karl McKenna
The Athletic Arms owner

Ken Davie, Campaign For Real Ale's Scotland and Northern Ireland director, said: "It's sad when any cask ale stops being brewed, given the history of the major brewing companies over the years.

"There is no reason why McEwan's couldn't continue producing a small quantity of 80/- cask ale by rethinking their production methods."

The Athletic Arms, which is close to Hearts FC ground at Tynecastle, is better known as "Diggers" because it is opposite a cemetery and is dubbed "The Home of Heavy" on its website.

Owner Karl McKenna said the first he heard of the end of the beer's cask production was when a customer told him on Friday night.

He said: "I am very disappointed by this news. The locals have had to put up with a lot recently with the ups and downs at Hearts but now Scottish & Newcastle have gone and pulled the rug out from under them.

"We currently order and consume one third of all McEwan's 80/- drunk in Edinburgh and it makes up a quarter of our sales.

"So it will be a big part of life in the pub and in the lives of our customers that will be going missing."

The cask beer was brewed at the Caledonian Brewery on Slateford Road.


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