A new £1 million visitor centre telling the story of Tennent’s Lager has opened in Glasgow.
Brewery bosses believe the new centre at the Wellpack Brewery site, where Hugh and Robert Tennent opened their first brewery in 1740 in the east end of the city, is set to become a destination for beer lovers.
Tourism leaders hope it will help Glasgow meet its goal of attracting one million extra visitors a year by 2023.
But last night Paul Sweeney, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, in whose constituency the visitor centre is located, said whilst he welcomed the business tourists would bring, addiction services in the city and across Scotland had suffered budget cuts.
The centre features tasting, new and old artwork as well as Tennent’s artefacts including a 150-year-old bottle of stout brewed in Wellpark and discovered in a shipwreck off Australia.
Line of Duty star actor and Tennent’s fan Martin Compston, taking a break from filming the fifth season of the police drama, was the first person to be shown round.
“I’m massively impressed, the place looks amazing,” he said.
“I was blown away by the history of the whole thing – the connections to Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie and some incredible photos going back through the years.
“It’s a great attraction for the east end of Glasgow, but something like Tennent’s, it’s more than a beer; it’s part of our culture and our heritage.”
Alan McGarrie, group brand director, said it had been a privilege to have Compston as Wellpark’s first visitor.
“It has been an incredible transformation, watching the space develop into a truly immersive experience that showcases the brewery, the beer and the brand.”
However, Mr Sweeney said more needed to be done for those with alcohol addiction issues.
“I’m sure the Tennent’s visitor centre will be a great success story and may well do for Glasgow what the Guinness tours have done for Dublin. The company has done a lot for the east end and also has an excellent track record of quietly helping out with severe social issues.
“But it will also be aware that whilst the majority of people enjoy alcohol responsibly, it can have a negative impact on some drinkers and their families.
“I support Labour’s proposal for a tourist tax which would capture some of the tourist spend, part of which could go to help addiction projects in the city. This is desperately needed after the Scottish Government cut alcohol and drug services across Scotland by 14 per cent between 2015-18.”