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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 13:31 GMT
Brewing deal ends centuries of history
Fountain Brewery
Brewing at Fountainbridge was started by William McEwan
The break-up of Scottish & Newcastle is set to end more than 250 years of history for the UK's biggest brewer.

The maker of Foster's, Kronenbourg 1664 and Newcastle Brown Ale has consolidated UK brewers and expanded overseas in recent years.

But it traces its roots back to 1749, when the William Younger brewery was established in Leith, Edinburgh.

William Younger became a public company in 1899, merging with William McEwan to form Scottish Brewers in 1913.

The Newcastle arm of the company dates back to the foundation of the John Barras brewery in 1770.

Barras bought the Tyne Brewery in 1884 and launched Newcastle Breweries in 1890.

Rapid expansion

Following a merger of the two businesses, Scottish & Newcastle was formed in 1960.

The company was the UK's fifth largest brewer in 1985 - focusing on its main markets in Scottish and north east England - but a rapid expansion programme saw it become number one by 1995.

That year it doubled the scale of its beer business with the acquisition of Courage - bringing in brands including Foster's, Kronenbourg and John Smith's.

By 2000 the firm was focused on overseas expansion after selling its leisure business, which included the Pontins and Center Parcs chains.

Pint of beer
Scottish & Newcastle was formed in 1960

In 2003 it sold 1,400 pubs to a private equity consortium, including Blackstone and Texas Pacific Group, for 2.5bn to reduce debt.

S&N's desire for more rapidly-growing markets saw it push on with a clutch of acquisitions in countries ranging from Finland to India.

The company also took its first step into China in February 2004 after buying a stake in Chongqing Beer Group.

However, that same year the company decided to close a plant in its traditional heartland - the 150-year-old Fountain Brewery in Edinburgh. The company's headquarters remain in the city.

A year later, the Tyne Brewery in Newcastle - where Newcastle Brown Ale was made - closed after S&N decided to move production to Gateshead.

This site and the group's other UK bases in Tadcaster, Manchester and Reading, will transfer to Heineken, which has no breweries in the UK.

S&N employs about 30,000 people across the rest of its European operations and the Baltic Beverages Holdings (BBH) joint venture with Carlsberg.

The brewer employs another 7,000 people in its Asian joint ventures.

SEE ALSO
Brewer S&N agrees 7.8bn takeover
25 Jan 08 |  Business

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