A series of talks on aspects of brewing in the county will be held to complement 'Raise Your Glass! Celebrating Clackmannanshire's Brewing Heritage', the current exhibition in the Speirs Centre.
Brewing was one of Scotland's most important industries. Alloa has a long association with beer and was once renowned all over the world for brewing many excellent ales. At its peak there were up to nine breweries producing ales at any one time. Memories of that golden age are revived in the Raise Your Glass! exhibition, which tells the story of brewing and also looks at the industry in the county.
The first illustrated talk to accompany the exhibition will be 'Alloa and its Ales' on Thursday 3rd November and will be given by Susan Mills, the Council's Museum and Heritage Officer. She will cover the intriguing story of all the brewers and breweries which once existed, including the lesser known ones like Hutton Park and Mills Breweries, looking at their ups and downs, their buildings, products and marketing.
The second talk will be 'Was it really work?', a lighthearted look at life and lager in Alloa Brewery on Thursday 17th November and will be given jointly by Brian Eaton, the last Head Brewer at Alloa Brewery before its closure in 1998, and Harvey Milne, former Chief Engineer at Alloa Brewery. This is sure to be a fascinating and entertaining presentation, filled with amusing anecdotes about their experiences of working in one of Alloa's last surviving breweries.
The third talk will be 'Brewing in Alloa - Did you Know?' on Thursday 15th December and will be given by John Martin, Chairman of the Scottish Brewing Archive Association (SBAA). He will be presenting a fascinating range of little-known facts about the breweries in Alloa.
The talks will all begin at 7.30pm and will take place in the Ceremony Room in the Speirs Centre. Access is via the side entrance (signed Registrars/Local and Family History Centre) near Primrose Street. They are free of charge. Refreshments will be served after the events.
Council Leader Bobby McGill points out that the Speirs Centre is located in a site once virtually surrounded by breweries. He said: "Alloa was once a major centre for beer production, as the Raise Your Glass! exhibition shows. Today brewing is alive and well in Clackmannanshire, with the Harviestoun Brewery in Alva, Williams Brothers Brewing in Alloa and Devon Ales in Sauchie."
The Raise Your Glass! exhibition was created by Brewing Heritage Scotland, which is linked with, but separate from, the Scottish Brewing Archive Association (SBAA). Both promote interest in Scotland's brewing history and the SBAA specifically fosters interest in brewing industry records held by the University of Glasgow Archive Services. Part of the exhibition was previously on display in Edinburgh, but it now includes a range of material from Clackmannanshire Council's heritage collection and on loan from collectors - bottles from almost every brewery, as well as artefacts, advertisements and other memorabilia from what was once a major industry in the county. The exhibition is free of charge to the public at the Speirs Centre and runs until late January.