THE historic Caledonian Brewery on Edinburgh’s Slateford Road is to close down, putting 30 jobs at risk and signalling the demise of the last major brewery in the city.

The decision announced by Dutch owner Heineken this afteroon looks set to end more than 150 years of brewing tradition at Caledonian, which was established by George Lorimer and Robert Clark in 1869.

Heineken said production at the Victorian site has steadily declined over the last 10 years as the brewer has focused on other products, adding that it would not be financially viable to make the investment needed to upgrade its ageing facilities

The Caledonian is the last major brewery in a city that once boasted more than 40 during the industry's peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In recent years it has perhaps been best known for producing the award-winning Deuchars IPA.

Trade union Unite declared this evening that "all options should be on the table" to save production at the site. It is scheduled to have talks with Heineken next week to discuss the potential impact that the proposed closure will have on the 30 workers currently employed at the brewery.

Joe Clarke, Unite national officer for the food and drink sector, said: “This is devastating news for the Caledonian Brewery which has a 150-year long tradition and history in Edinburgh.

"Unite will enter into immediate discussions with Heineken and we have arranged meetings next week in order to find out further information and facts relating to the proposed closure.

"Unite will leave no stone unturned in an effort to keep production and jobs in Edinburgh, and all options should be on the table including government support.”

Matt Callan, supply chain director for Heineken UK said: “We’ve not taken this decision lightly. We’re acutely aware of what the brewery represents in Edinburgh, and its role in the history and heritage of brewing in Scotland – this is something we’re incredibly proud of. Our primary focus is the 30 colleagues based there and we’ll now enter into a period of consultation.

“The sad fact is, its Victorian infrastructure means significant inefficiencies and costs, particularly as it is operating below capacity. To modernise the brewery, and to meet our own sustainability commitments, would require considerable ongoing investment, which would make operating the brewery economically unviable.”

Heineken said that it has reached a deal with Greene King for the beers currently made at Caledonian to be produced at the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar.

It has owned Caledonian since it teamed up with Carslberg to acquire Scottish & Newcastle in 2008. S&N had acquired Caledonian Brewery earlier that year.

Mr Callan added: “We’re also aware that the beers produced at Caledonian Brewery are enjoyed by many people across Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. That’s why we’re working hard to make sure the Caledonian brands will continue to be produced in Scotland if the proposed closure goes ahead. We’ve an agreement in principle to licence the brands to Greene King who will brew Deuchars, Coast to Coast and Maltsmiths IPA and Lager at its Belhaven brewery in Dunbar.”

Matt Starbuck, Greene King brewing and brands managing director, said: “These brands are long loved in both Scotland and beyond and we are proud to be able to continue to brew them so they can be enjoyed by consumers and customers alike.”

“This agreement underlines our commitment to Belhaven Brewery as Scotland’s oldest working brewery, and boosts our portfolio of already award-winning beers.”