The Brewhouse

Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire and is set in the old George Younger’s bottling hall in Kelliebank.

Although now producing an eclectic range of Craft Beers for the international market, the Brotherhood 'Brew House' is steeped in Scottish tradition and remains the last bastion of brewing in a town, which was once regarded as 'Scotland's Beer Capital'.

Now firmly established as one of Scotland’s largest independent breweries (acting as a central hub for the bottling and packing of many of the countries best craft beers) our story has humble beginnings, borne out of proud home brewing traditions. The companies genesis can literally be traced back to one ‘home brew’ sized batch of Fraoch Heather Ale, recreated by Bruce from an ancient recipe.

Our first commercial brews of 'Scotland's Original Craft Beer' were at a 5-barrel brewery in Taynult near Oban on the West Coast. Here we were able to brew just enough to supply cask conditioned Fraoch to 5 premises, including the Clachaig in Glencoe, which to this day remains our most loyal and enduring customer.


Our Headbrewer Gordon Gelsthorpe.

Spruce Tips

Spruce tips used in our Scottish Pine Ale, Alba and our Festive Spruce Beer, Nollaig.

Birds & Bees Labels
Birds & Bees

With demand for this unique historical ale well out stripping our ability to supply, we took our recipe to the old Maclay's brewery in Alloa. It was here that the first bottles of Fraoch were brewed, which allowed the legend to travel further afield. – The bottle shape and label may have change over the years but what you experience today is exactly the same as the original brew (and not too far removed from the original 4000 year old recipe we like to think).

In 1998 we built the Craigmill brewery in Strathaven, which became our base of operations for the next 6 years until we took over the ‘Forth Brewery’ in Alloa, where we have been happily brewing, bottling, kegging & now even canning beer ever since.

The Williams Bros. brew house seems to have grown up organically around us and developed to accommodate an ever growing and dynamic brew team and portfolio of Craft Beers. – And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.


Grain Store/Silo

Malt blend is selected and the whole grain is put into our mill where it is crushed and piped through to the mash tun.

Mash Tun

Grain is mixed up with hot water and is soaked. At this stage is where the Seaweed and Oats are added for some of our darker brews. After soaking the brew is 'Sparged' (sprayed with warm water) to rinse out the good juices (the juices are called 'Wort'). The Wort is collected into our kettle & spent grain is piped outside where it goes into a trailer and a local farmer collects it to feed to his cattle.

Wort Kettle

The Wort is boiled up with Hops / Heather / Bogmyrtyl / Pine / Spruce taking about an hour to bring to boil and then boiled for a further hour.

Fermentation Vessel

Wort is collected into the fermentation vessel. It leaves the kettle and passes through a heat exchanger, arriving at the fermentation vessel at around 20°C. This process take around 1 hour. Yeast is added to the wort after collection and it is fermented for about 7 days. Fermentation ends once our house yeast has eaten all the available sugars and has reached it’s final gravity.

Mixing Vessel

Fruit / Elderflower / Lemon / Hops are mixed up with some beer brought into the vessel, brought to the boil and boiled up to release the flavours and sterilise everything. Beer is flushed in and out of the vessel and back into fermentation vessel to wash out the flavours in the vessels contents.

Cold Tank

Beer is then transferred into the cold tank, and the temperature is brought down. Finings are added to the beer (product depending) to help it clear. The beer is then chilled for 14 days at around -1.5ºC. This is called conditioning. For our Ceilidh Lager we extend this conditioning time to 90 days like many premium European Lagers. Our Cask Ale is ready at this point and are racked from the cold tank.


Taste tests are carried out throughout the whole process to monitor the flavours as they develop, we are looking to avoid 'off' smells and flavours. We have a tasting diagram we use when doing these taste trials.

Bottling, Kegging & Canning


The newest addition to our brewhouse, the conditioned beer passes through a centrifuge where it is spun at high speed, this separates the bright beer from the proteins, yeast and hops.


Depending on the product and the results from centrifuging the beer the beer may then be polish filtered to remove the last of any yeast, protein or particles from the beer.

Bright Beer Tank

The bright beer is collected in this tank where it is then carbonated and ready to be sent to our kegging plant or on to our bottling/canning plant.

Taste/Carbonation Tests

Once again further taste trials are carried out along with carbonation tests to check the level of CO₂ in the beer.

The Final Article

Our company ethos has always been to let the beer speak for itself, but we feel that any brew is not quite complete without a strong visual identity to compliment the ale and capture the imagination. Mil Stricevic; a lecturer at The Glasgow School Of Art and an institutionalised member of the Brotherhood has created our contemporary design and branding since we became Williams Bros. Brewing Co. in 2004. As much care, deliberation and passion goes into the packaging as the brewing process itself.

Design Process 1

To refresh the full set of our Historic Ales - most of which rely heavily on the application of celtic imagery and typography - in order to widen its appeal in the market.

Design Process 2

Quick mock-ups explore different ways to make this family of exceptional products more appealing to a new audience without alienating existing fans, applied to bottles for feedback. How does it make you feel? Which would you buy, and why?

Design Process 3

The chosen design strategy retains a central graphic motif from the original branding, but offsets this nod to authentic provenance with a hand painted logotype: hands-on, batch-produced premium flavours for the 21st Century beer connoisseur.

Design Process 4

Having settled on a look & feel that will translate across the whole family, tests are undertaken with a variety of paper stocks to make best use of emboss and varnish effects for a great ‘hand-feel’.

Design Process 5

Jewel-like colours applied to the Williams Bros logo allude to both the flavour profile & premium nature of each product; each designed to look delicious individually and mouth-watering as a family.

Jewel-like colours applied to the Williams Bros logo allude to both the flavour profile & premium nature of each product; each designed to look delicious individually and mouth-watering as a family.

Historic Ales – The final article.

We call the end result "The Full Beer Package".

We strive to make the best quality brews, in the most sustainable manner, with a focus on local sourcing of ingredients and using processes designed to have the minimum environmental impact.

We use Scottish ingredients wherever possible. We recycle glass, plastic, card, paper and our spent grain is fed to local cattle (who particularly love the Midnight Sun & Kelpie mash). Our ingredients are sourced and picked responsibly, with care not to create an impact on local wildlife or their environment.

We have a good relationship with other Scottish craft brewers, bottling and packing for many of the key players in the industry. After all we're all in this together, spreading the word about good beer.

More than anything else we still like to experiment and develop new ideas & flavours and this is something you will see more of as we continue to create more seasonal, collaborative & limited edition brews.


History of
 the Brotherhood

Our Story