Brewing up the sweet sourness that is malt vinegar: a blogpost written by Antoinette Seymour

UGC 216: The Papers of Cyril David Baxter Creasey (1912-2008) offer a glimpse into the world of malt vinegar brewing through the eyes of a master vinegar brewer


Workers bottling Grimble’s BVL Malt Vinegar c1952 [Ref: UGC 216/3/2/11]

Creasey started work as an apprentice vinegar brewer at Beaufoy Grimble & Co Ltd in Leith, Scotland in 1930. In the early 1930s Beaufoy Grimble merged with various other companies to form British Vinegars Ltd. Shortly afterwards in 1934 Creasey became Under Brewer, he was later promoted to Manager and Brewer in 1936, and retired after 40 years in the industry in 1978. For a period in the mid-1930s and then from 1948-1950, he was also a student at Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, where brewing had first been taught as a part of biochemistry in 1904, before the Department of Brewing came into existence in 1950.



Jane Street Vinegar Brewery (c1952) [Ref: UGC 216/3/2/1]


Pickford Tanker outside Jane Street Brewery (c1952) [Ref: UGC 216/3/2/4]











UGC 216 includes such items as: Heriot-Watt College biochemistry/brewing science notebooks; documents from the Institute of Brewing (Scottish Section); British Vinegars records (including technical books, photographs, promotional and historical items); and brewing-related newspaper clippings.


Delve into the fascinating vinegar brewing lab notebooks and you will find malt vinegar recipes such as spiced and chili vinegar; a smelling salts recipe; impurity detection tests; moisture and extract tests; and cask dispatch information.


Explore a beautiful vinegar analysis book which also contains vinegar bottle labels from 29 breweries throughout the UK, including Paterson’s bottle label with ‘Caution: Do not buy white or clear vinegar for table use…’


View the 1834 newspaper article which claimed:

That vinegar is destructive to the human stomach is known by its effect on plump heavy females, who, from a silly desire of looking delicate, that is sickly, swallow daily large draughts of vinegar.


Finally, did you know that other Grimble staff included Apprentice John Shiels, Leith’s “singing cooper” of the Sadler Wells Opera Company?


Search the papers of Cyril Creasey for the fascinating world of vinegar brewing

Categories: Archives and Special Collections

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