Where Glasgow's favourite drink was brewed by generations of Tennents

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Where Glasgow's favourite drink was brewed by generations of Tennents
Where Glasgow's favourite drink was brewed by generations of Tennents

Wellpark Brewery was established in 1740 at Drygate Bridge by brothers Hugh and Robert Tennent as H&R Tennent.

It was a stone’s throw from the Molendinar Burn, on the banks of Glasgow Cathedral, where the brothers’ ancestor had been brewing since 1556.

It became known as Wellpark in 1769 when Hugh Tennent’s sons began trading under J&R Tennent. They expanded their business by purchasing the brewery next door, resulting in an impressive 20,000 square-metre site.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

While the family has produced beer since the 18th century, what the Tennent men of old were brewing up was very different to the light, ice-cold lager Glaswegians know and love today.

The firm originally produced stout and ales and was the largest bottled beer exporter by the mid-19th century.

Hugh Tennent’s great-great-great grandson, also named Hugh, started brewing lager after he took over the brewery in 1884, and gave it a whole a new look. He built a new brewery on the Wellpark site which took three years to complete.

Glasgow Times: Wellpark brewery truck, early 1900s.
Glasgow Times: Wellpark brewery truck, early 1900s.

Wellpark brewery truck, early 1900s.

From there, Tennent’s lager was born. The first draught came in 1924, followed by the first can in 1935 and the first keg in 1963.

Now recognised instantly for its big red T against a yellow background, cans of Tennent’s used to feature pictures of pin-up models, known as ‘Lager Lovelies’. While an outdated custom, the cans are highly sought after by vintage collectors.

Glasgow Times: Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill's Jack and Victor became Lager Lovelies
Glasgow Times: Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill's Jack and Victor became Lager Lovelies

Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill's Jack and Victor became Lager Lovelies

The tradition briefly returned in recent years, but this time Tennent’s paired up with beloved sitcom Still Game and immortalised Jack and Victor onto the cans. You can’t get more Glaswegian than that.

In 2009, the Tennent's brand was bought by the C&C group, and in 2014 they added to Wellpark's site by opening a craft beer brewery called Drygate Brewing Co.

Nowadays the Glasgow institution is a full-blown tourist attraction, with regular brewery tours (free pint included) and a range of Tennent’s-themed merchandise available to buy, from personalised glasses to accessories for pets.

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