Brothers Hugh and Robert achieved a roaring success with their Drygate Brewery, but it was Hugh’s sons, John and Robert, who expanded the Tennent empire under their J&R Tennent company. They took over in 1769 and by 1790 had purchased a neighbouring brewery belonging to William McLehose, expanding the zize of the brewery, which was renamed Wellpark.
Originally churning out stout and export ales, by the time Robert and John died in 1826 and 1827 respectively, they were the world’s largest bottled beer exporter. The brewery has since passed from generation to generation of Tennent, but it was Robert’s great-grandson Hugh who first brewed Tennents Lager in 1885, shortly after he took control of the company in 1884. Under his supervision a larger brewery was built on top of the existing Wellpark site, which was completed in 1891. The company went on to produce the first draught lager in 1924, the first canned lager in 1935, and the first keg lager in 1963.
Scotland pretty much invented everything!
By this point, multinational corporations were on the rise. J&R Tennent was bought by Charrington United Breweries in 1963, and merged with their other brewery, United Caledonian, to form Tennent Caledonian Breweries. Since then it has been sold several times. The most recent was in 2009, when the C&C Group based in Ireland bought the famous Tennent’s brand from Belgian brewer InBev.
The brand is synonymous with Scotland, as the brewery has sponsored numerous enterprises, the most famous of which is T in the Park, Scotland’s biggest and best music festival, held every summer in Kinross. They also sponsor the smaller T on the Green in Glasgow, and also the city’s two Old Firm rival football teams, Rangers and Celtic.
The murals seen adorning the Wellpark Brewery’s buildings, as well as the wall that surround it, were the brainchild of Edinburgh based brand company 422 Design, who commissioned Glasgow based street artist Smug to render the picturesque Scottish countryside amidst the urban industrial sprawl.