Barley has been farmed around Berwick-upon-Tweed for more than a thousand years and Berwick’s name originates from the Old English “bere-wic”, or “barley farm”.
Grain is still a vital element of the local economy today and forms a large part of the trade of the Port of Berwick.
Barley is brought from farms on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border toSimpsons Malt Ltd., who have malted barley in Berwick since Victorian times. The produce from Simpsons hi-tech Tweed Valley Maltings is sent to whisky distilleries and breweries in Scotland, Yorkshire and elsewhere.
Berwick once had many maltings and granaries that have since been converted to different uses such as The Maltings Theatre in Eastern Lane, Dewar’s Lane Granary which houses a Youth Hostel, bistro and exhibition gallery, and others that are now turned into private apartments.
Grain is still milled at the water-powered Heatherslaw Corn-mill on the Ford and Etal Estates, about 10 miles (15 km) to the south-west of Berwick.
Beer is no longer brewed commercially in Berwick, but the sites of several old breweries can be seen in the town. The old Border Brewery premises in Brewery Lane, Tweedmouth is one of the oldest surviving groups pf brewery buildings in North East England. It now serves as a joiner’s workshop.