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Bottle of stout returns home after 150 years

Friday, 16th November

Bottle of Tennent’s was found on ship that had set off from Liverpool

A 150-year-old bottle of stout has been returned to its original brewery in Glasgow after being discovered on an Australian shipwreck in the 1970s.

Diver Jim Anderson came across the bottle of Tennent’s close to the site of the ill-fated The Light of The Age which was carrying 42 people on a voyage from Liverpool.

It is believed the bottle, possibly the oldest bottle of beer in Scotland, was on board the clipper when it’s drunken captain caused it to sink near Melbourne on 16 January 1868.

Recalling the discovery, 72-year-old Mr Anderson said: “I could see the inscription Wellpark Brewery on it, and I set about finding where that was.

“It’s very special”

“I found out it was in Glasgow, and I contacted Tennent’s to see if they were interested in the bottle, which they were, and I was delighted.

“Now people can look at it, and think about the connection between Australia and Scotland, too. It’s very special.”

“It took a bit of clearance to get it to Glasgow because artefacts are protected in Australia and we need special authorisation for things like this to leave the country. I sought all that, and it’s amazing to see it back where it started, 150 years later, metres from where it started its journey.”

Beer returns to Glasgow
Jim Anderson is a member of the Geelong Skindivers Club

He added: “This little bottle is a reminder of the historic connection between Australia and Scotland, too. I hope people enjoy seeing it and think about those days and the distance it travelled before I found it. It has come home and brought me with it.”

The Scottish brewery had well-established agents in Liverpool and Australia, and regular shipments from Glasgow via Liverpool were common.

However the captain, who was found to be drunk by a marine board investigation, took the ship off course and ran it aground.

To mark the shipwrecked bottle’s homecoming, Tennent’s brewers have gone back through old recipes in order to recreate a commemorative-edition run of the stout.

Group brand director Alan McGarrie said: “The Tennent’s Story tells the incredible story of brewing on the Wellpark site, which dates way back to 1556.  The fascinating story of the shipwrecked bottle, and the captain who ran his boat aground, is just one of the exhibits on show as we explore the past, the present and the future of Tennent’s.”

“Pre-dating Tennent’s Lager, which was first brewed in 1885, the stout is one of the oldest bottles of beer in Britain, returned to Wellpark by the diver who found it. Unlike the drunken captain who ran his ship aground close to Port Phillip Heads, Jim has ensured his historic cargo reached its final destination – by flying round the world to put it in place himself.”