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Erskine Vanishing Willows Craft Beer Launched

Two Towns Down launch special beer to honour Erskine Veterans

Erskine has teamed up with Renfrewshire brewery Two Towns Down to create an exclusive craft beer, named The Vanishing Willows, as a tribute to the history of Scotland’s largest Veterans charity.

Produced at the Two Towns Down brewery in Paisley, the first brewery in the town in over 125 years, the launch of this craft beer signals the start of a charity partnership between the pair.

The Two Towns Down beers are all named after songs and as Erskine has "The Vanishing Willows" song it was agreed as the name of the new Erskine beer.

The story of the Vanishing Willows comes from Erskine founder, Sir William Macewen, and his mission to find wood for artificial limbs for First World War veterans by any means necessary. Sir William asked Sir Donald MacAlister, Principal of the University of Glasgow for two willow trees. The Principal said that he didn’t think there would be any objections but told Macewen that he should ask the university officially. However, when out a walk that same afternoon, MacAlister was shocked to see that the two willow trees had already vanished!

The Vanishing Willows pale ale was selected in brewing sessions hosted for Veterans, from both the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre and The Erskine Home, by Two Towns Down Head Brewer/Owner Sandy McKelvie.

The Veterans took the opportunity to sample several of the beers that the brewery create – with the pale ale earning top marks and therefore being awarded The Vanishing Willows title. It will be designed in the brewery’s trademark Paisley Pattern and coloured in Erskine’s iconic purple.

The beer was given the seal of approval from Erskine Veterans, including 87-year-old army Veteran, Tommy Dickie, who is well-versed in what makes a good pint as a former employee of the Tennent’s Brewery in Wellpark. He said: “It has been a pleasure to help the partnership get off to a flying start by doing something I really enjoy… sampling a pint. Hopefully, this beer will vanish off the shelves – just like those willows vanished all those years ago.”

Sandy said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to support a well-established local charity in this way. We have been blown away by the facilities and level of care provided at Erskine. It was a privilege to visit Erskine and have the Veterans work with us on selecting the beer style. We particularly enjoyed having some Veterans join us at the Brewery for a few beers at the Tap Room, while they kept a watchful eye on the brewing of The Vanishing Willows.

Liz McKelvie, Two Towns Down brewery manager, said: “Coming from Renfrewshire, Erskine is a charity close to our heart. We are delighted to support Erskine and we hope The Vanishing Willows is a huge success and enjoyed by the Veterans.”

Ian Cumming MBE, Chief Executive at Erskine, said: “We are honoured to team up with Two Towns Down brewery, who are a real success story in the local community. Our Veterans enjoyed a fantastic day of beer tasting and I have to agree with them that The Vanishing Willows is a truly exceptional pint! I am sure it will become a favourite among our Veterans.”

To find out more about Erskine Veterans Charity’s work please visit our website at, follow on twitter @ErskineCharity via Facebook or listen to Erskine Veterans Radio at To donate directly to Erskine, please visit

Erskine Veterans Charity | Company No. SC174103 | Registered Charity No. SC006609 | The Erskine Home, Erskine Veterans Village, Bishopton, PA7 5PU

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