In the 15th century, Stirling was so famed for its brewing trade, that the burgh was granted the holding “the Scottish pinte or standard jug of Sterling” by an act of the Scottish Parliament in 1457. The Stirling Jug was the measure by which all other measures in Scotland were calibrated. It was the equivalent of about three Imperial pints. After the Act of Union in 1707, the weights and measures system was changed, and the Stirling Jug – the original can be seen in the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum – became obsolete as a measure.
In the 18th century, Stirling had three words for beer – Inky Pinky, Middle Moy and Rumtumbling – names for small, middle and strong beer in this centre of brewing. The history of ale in Stirling is neatly told by Edward Burns in his celebratory book of 2004, and although the glory days of brewing are in the past, microbreweries like Bridge of Allan Brewery have come into their own. To celebrate both the history of brewing and the Stirling Smith collections, brewer Douglas Ross has created three new labels. Shown here, they are Stirling Jug, Curling Stone and Old Bladder, celebrating three objects for which the Smith is well known.