8 things you (probably) didn't know about Tennent's Lager

It's one of the most recognisable Scottish brands around but how much do you really know about Tennent's Lager?

Published 16th Mar 2017
Updated 13 th Feb 2019

1. Wellpark is considered to be Scotland’s oldest surviving brewery

It's also Glasgow’s longest running commercial operation and it's reported that beer has been produced on the site since 1556.


2. Bonnie Prince Charlie was a fan

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie. Picture: Wikimedia

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie. Picture: Wikimedia

It is noted in the Glasgow city records that in 1745, after suffering military defeat in England, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army stopped at the Wellpark Brewery, where every man was “refreshed and heartened” by the Tennent’s brew, after their long march from the Highlands.

3. Tennent’s Lager was introduced to Scotland by 21 year old Hugh Tennent

A mural on Wellpark's walls, dedicated to their founder. Picture: Tennent's

A mural on Wellpark's walls, dedicated to Tennent's Lager creator Hugh Tennent. Picture: Tennent's

The original brewery was founded in 1556 by Robert Tennent, a farmer and professional Maltman on the banks of the Molendinar Burn. Hugh and Robert Tennent then founded the current brewery in 1740, before Hugh's descendant (who was also named Hugh) introduced Tennent's lager in 1885, it later became the first lager to be produced in the UK on a commercial scale.

The company also went on to produce the first draught lager in 1924, the first canned lager in 1935 and the first keg lager in 1963.

Outlander star Sam Heughan went on to portray Hugh Tennent in the massively popular TV ads before finding fame in the US in his role as Jamie Fraser.

4. Wellpark has been exporting beers as far back as 1791

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

By the 1860s, Tennent’s was the world’s largest exporter of bottled beer, they were so popular that in 1893 Tennent's Lager won the highest award at the Chicago World's Fair.

5. Tennent’s Lager is Scotland’s Favourite Drink


With retail sales in excess of £350m per annum, Tennent’s is one fifth bigger than all Coca-Cola variants combined, 20 per cent bigger than Smirnoff and Irn Bru combined and almost five times bigger than the next beer brand.

6. Rare Tennent's Lager cans featuring Lager Lovelies are now a collector's item


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The series, which ran from 1969 to 1991 was inspired by the American brewers of the time, originally the brewer used scenic pictures from around Scotland but the success of the 'Lager Lovelies' as almost an accident after they started using pictures of model Ann Johanson on the cans alongside the landscape pictures.

The pictures of Ann became a hit with customers and soon others followed, using real girls they created a running series of beer can pin-ups that lasted from the late 60s until the early 90s.

June Lake was a Can Girl from 1986-88 and one of the last off the production line, speaking with The Scotsman in 2003, she said: "I did a lot of beauty contests back then," she recalls. "I was Miss Edinburgh, Miss Black Heart Rum. But to be picked as a Can Girl was the ultimate.

"Some folk used to say: ‘Aren’t you being exploited?’ But compared to the Miss UK contest I entered, which was a real cattle-market, Tennent’s really looked after me. I was flown around in the company plane and paid vulgar amounts of money to have a fantastic time."

They are now highly sought after, with collectors offering large sums for some of the rarer cans.

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7. Tennent's are marketing masters

From Morecambe and Wise, to Sadist and Masochist, the Pintlings and Caledonia, the John Lewis spoof and When the Cat’s Away Euro 2016 video, Tennent's have always found unique ways to create hugely popular adverts.

8. Tennent's don't sell a low-calorie version of their lager

When asked on Twitter why they didn't do a low-calorie lager or a Tennent's Lite, they responded with their trademark Glaswegian wit.



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