Jan 292018
Exterior of the University of Edinburgh's sports facility at Pleasance, which once housed Bell's Brewery

Bell’s Brewery

48 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ

The building that now houses the University of Edinburgh’s sports facilities was once Bell’s Brewery. This brewery united with three others in the 1920s to create Edinburgh United Breweries, but this new conglomerate rapidly ran into financial difficulties. As a result, one of the directors and the head brewer decided that the only way for the brewery to survive was to avoid paying the full amount of duty on the beer they produced. From 1926 until the fraud was discovered in 1933 it was the practice at the brewery to keep two sets of books for the brewery’s business records. Only one of these books, representing only a part of the production of the brewery, was shown to the inspectors from Customs and Excise. A sacked employee finally told Customs and Excise what was going on, leading to the exposure of the scheme. The brewery could not afford to pay what they owed leading to the business going under. A book based on this case by John Pink was used for many years in the training of new officers.

Orange, black, and white label for 90 Shillling Pale Ale, brewed by Edinburgh United Breweries.

90 Shilling Pale Ale, brewed by Edinburgh United Breweries.

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