Glenfinnan Gold lives again as brewery pays homage to local legacy

Ian- Peter MacDonald, far left, Lucy Hicks and John Fish with the new Glenfinnan Gold beer in front of equipment from the former Glenfinnan Brewery. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F29 GleanSpean Brewery 01
Ian- Peter MacDonald, far left, Lucy Hicks and John Fish with the new Glenfinnan Gold beer in front of equipment from the former Glenfinnan Brewery. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F29 GleanSpean Brewery 01

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There will be many in Lochaber who fondly remember the Glenfinnan Brewery and the four-barrel microbrewery’s small range of craft beers.

But although the brewery is no more, the equipment that spent about a decade producing such popular beers as Glenfinnan Gold and Glenfinnan Dark, has continued to fulfil its original purpose, albeit in a new home at Spean Bridge.

And now in homage to that unique Lochaber legacy, the Glen Spean Brewing Company’s latest recipe has been christened Glenfinnan Gold, joining an existing stable that already comprises Snow Goose, Pale Blonde, Highbridge IPA and Red Revival.

The Glen Spean Brewing Company only started life a little more than two years ago, set up in an 18th-century farm steading at Tirindrish in Spean Bridge by Ian Peter MacDonald, James Leggatt and Lucy Hicks.

However, as Mr MacDonald explained, the purchase of the brewery equipment from Glenfinnan came with the added bonus of one of its founders, John Fish, supplying his expertise to the fledgling Glen Spean Brewing Company.

Mr Fish had set up the Glenfinnan Brewery in 2005, together with two fellow retired ex-teachers – Dave Leckie and the late Donald John Robertson.

The brewery was officially opened in May 2007 at an event featuring the then local MP, the late Charles Kennedy.

Raising the standard in May, 2017, along with a pint of Standard, are Glenfinnan Brewery founders, from right, the late Donald-John Robertson, David Leckie and John Fish, and who welcomed local MP, the late Charles Kennedy, far left, and Glenfinnan Gathering organiser, the late Ronnie McKellaig, second left, to the official opening of their new venture. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE NO F29 archive glenfinnan brewery 01
Raising the standard in May, 2017, along with a pint of their new beer ‘Standard’, are Glenfinnan Brewery founders, from right, the late Donald-John Robertson, David Leckie and John Fish, who welcomed local MP, the late Charles Kennedy, far left, and Glenfinnan Gathering organiser, the late Ronnie McKellaig, second left, to the official opening of their new venture. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image.

‘When we bought the brewery the Glenfinnan, John kind of came with it and his help has been absolutely fantastic. That’s why on the back of the label of our new Glenfinnan Gold is a sketch of John,’ Mr MacDonald told the Lochaber Times.

‘We have a different recipe for our Glenfinnan Gold, however, and it is a really nice complement to the other beers in our range. Unusually for us, it is brewed from a single malt from a farm in Fife which is malting its own barley.’

The new beer with an original Glenfinnan Brewery cask. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F29 GleanSpean Brewery 02
The new beer with an original Glenfinnan Brewery cask. Photograph: Iain Ferguson.

‘We are also intending to submit a planning application for a new tap room so that people can enjoy the whole experience and they can come here and see people actually brewing the beer they can then drink.’