Gillespie, Gray & Co.

Gillespie, Gray & Co., Crown Brewery.—

         Connected with the brewing industry of North Britain there are few more representative or influential firms than Messrs. Gillespie, Gray & Co., of the Crown Brewery, Glasgow. This establishment, which, it is no exaggeration to say, now enjoys a national reputation, was originally started at Gallowgate, in 1872. The premises occupied in this well-known Glasgovian thoroughfare remained in the possession of the firm till 1882, and therein was laid the foundation of their present eminent repute, widespread connection, and rapidly increasing prosperity. In the year named Messrs. Gillespie, Gray & Co., who had long felt the want of more commodious and extensive headquarters, moved into their present spacious and admirably located establishment.

    As a brewery this is one of the most complete and effectively constructed and equipped concerns in Scotland, and everything in connection with it bears evidence of the thorough knowledge of detail and organisation, of public requirements and the care and attention promptly taken to supply them, possessed by the partners and their able and efficient coadjutors in the management of the business. The brewery is now situated at the north end of Slatefield Street, and with the buildings in connection therewith, covers an area of fully four thousand square yards. Improvements, alterations, and enlargements have from time to time been carried out, every new appliance, novelty, or process in connection with brewing has been promptly taken advantage of, and thus the productive capacity of the firm has been increased, and its modus operandi is kept abreast of modem needs. The Crown Brewery was especially erected by Messrs. Gillespie, Gray & Co., to meet the increasingly exacting demands for the production of pure and rich stout and porter — beverages which, when prepared as they are by the firm under notice, are daily becoming more popular. The firm prudently acquired sufficient ground where extension might be made, as the already increasing trade indicated this could not be long deferred.

    The interior arrangement of the brewery is such as commands general admiration. The different departments are arranged round the large area on which the buildings stand, and leave an extensive open space in the centre. The brewhouse is at the end farthest from the entrance, which is of a somewhat ornamental character, while the cooler-house, fermenting -room, racking-squares, and malt-stores stand on the right ; the stables and loading-sheds occupy the left, and the offices, counting-house, and lavatories are located close to the entrance.

    The brewery has been built on the gravitation principle, which, by making the apparatus self-acting, and conveying the brewings from one utensil to another, effects a great economy of time, labour, and consequent expense. On this account the brewhouse is of great height — fifty-seven feet to the wallhead — and is divided into three floors, on the uppermost of which is the mash-tun, capable of mashing thirty-five quarters, and fitted with a false bottom and grain-valve for shooting the grain into the court. The grist-hopper is placed over the mash-tun, suspended from the couples of the roof, and fitted with an automatic mashing machine. Elevators convey thereto the grist from the malt-mill in a contiguous building. The liquor boiler, which holds upwards of 5,000 gallons, is so placed as to give a good run to the mashing machine. Two wort copper of 110-barrel capacity are placed in a separate department, to obviate the steam interfering with the routine operations. The seats for the coppers are of vaulted construction, and thus economise space by affording facilities for the storage of fuel. The cooler and hop-drainer are cast-iron dishes, and the latter, on the side nearest the cooler, is of semicircular formation.

    Messrs. Wilson & Co., of Stockton-on-Tees, have supplied the refrigerator, which is so placed as to furnish abundant declivity to the fermenting tuns, of which there are six, made of white wood battens, and each capable of holding eighty barrels. There are two racking-squares of the capacity of one hundred and thirty barrels each. The malt-mill is constructed on the most improved principles, and is supplied with malt from a hopper in a room overhead. Underneath the mill is the engine-room (the engine being 18 h.p.), and the Cornish boiler fitted with Galloway tubes. The chimney-stack is of considerable altitude. It is thus seen that the whole process of brewing is here carried out on the most modem and scientific principles. The malt is passed from the hopper to the mill, the rough-surfaced cylinders of which grind it at the rate of thirty quarters an hour. After being ground the malt is conveyed by means of elevators to the grist-hopper, whence it is passed into the mashing machine, and thence into the mash-tun. Messrs. Gillespie, Gray, and Co. use Gregory’s patent mashing machine.

    The firm’s cooperage is of the best class, and every cask is warranted clean and sound before a drain of the brewery productions enters it. Absolute cleanliness is indeed a feature of the establishment, and after every brewing every article, instrument, and appliance used therein is thoroughly cleansed. This is a point the public should note, though it is one to which, unfortunately for themselves, they seem to pay very little attention. The brewery is compact and complete, and taken all round may be said to be about the best-managed concern of its kind north of the Tweed. The stout and porter produced by the firm are as near perfection as science, care in brewing, and the closest personal supervision on the part of the principals can bring them. They have a national reputation, an immense home consumption, and a steadily growing export demand. An almost official recognition of the excellence of the firm’s beverages is found in the fact that they are, in their line, the only drinks supplied the Glasgow International Exhibition.

    The idea of retaining a portion of the site to admit of extension was not very long in proving itself to be a matter of wisdom ; the new brewery was built in 1881, and only three years afterwards it was found necessary, to keep themselves abreast of their business, to erect a series of malt barns and extra cellarage, which are in every way equal in efficiency of arrangement and equipment to the brewery itself. Proceeding up Statefield Street, at the head of which stands the brewery the right-hand side of the street, for a length of one hundred and eighty feet, is formed by the front of the new malt barns, a lofty range of buildings of five storeys ; the ground floor consists of cellars ; the first, second, and third floors are for malting, and the top floor forms a barley loft and storage for malt in bins.

    The building may be said to be divided in the centre by a portion standing a little higher than the rest, the back portion of which contains the kiln ; and in the front on the ground floor is a spacious arched entrance gateway for lorries and carts, with a platform at each side for loading and unloading. A hoist here, worked by a gas-engine on the top floor, communicates with all the floors, for the raising and lowering of barley and malt.

    On looking straight in at the entrance through a door at the back, the cheerful gleam of the kiln furnace may be seen shedding its warmth and light all round the lower storey of the kiln. The furnace is enclosed with brick walls, supporting arches which form a coke store, having an iron hopper on the top to slide the cummins towards the centre, where they can be easily collected, and also to minimise the space underneath the floors, and thus economise heat. The kiln is supplied above with two wire floors (Herman’s patent wedge section steel wire), and an improved extractor on the top.

    From the higher building, already described, the malting floors run right and left, and in connection with the hoist, already mentioned, this arrangement enables the various floors to be easily and economically spread and lifted and raised to the kiln. There are two cast-iron steeps, one at each end of the building, placed on the top malting-floor, capable of steeping one hundred and twenty quarters of barley. The barley is dropped from the loft above into these steeps, and from thence on to the two floors below, being cast from the steep on to the top malting-floor. The buildings from front to back are fifty-nine feet wide and are covered M roofs, along the couples of which is a platform or gangway the whole length of the building. This enables the barley or malt to be easily distributed over the top floor or into the bins as desired.

    The architect engaged to arrange the plans, and whose conception and working out of the details deserve a well-merited compliment, was Mr. Peter L. Henderson, brewers’ architect and engineer, 122, George Street, Edinburgh. The brewery and maltings may indeed be taken as a model of compact and economical working capacity, and reflect high professional credit on Mr. Henderson as a brewers’ architect and engineer.

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