A year of celebrations ahead as SLTN marks its 60th anniversary in print


The Station Bar in Glasgow in the 1960s (Pic: Michael McHugh)

This is a huge year for SLTN as Scotland’s oldest and – even if we do say so ourselves – best hospitality trade title marks its 60th anniversary. 

In what’s sure to be another eventful year for the industry overall, we’ll be looking back at some of the biggest developments in the trade over the past six decades, from mergers and takeovers that changed the face of the market to changes in licensing law and the wider culture. 

There’ll be an event or two in the course of the year, and even SLTN’s very own cocktail competition. 

Keep your eyes on the print publication and sltn.co.uk for more information in the course of the year. 

More importantly SLTN was, is, and will continue to be the voice of Scotland’s licensed trade in 2024 and beyond, reporting on all the biggest stories affecting this incredible industry. 

Here’s to the next 60 years!

The Scottish Licensed Trade News burst onto the scene on 24th April, 1964, with front page news on plans for a £1 million tourism development in Aviemore. 

As the year went on the paper brought all manner of trade stories to its growing readership, including:

• The announcement that the International Bartenders Association would host its annual conference in Scotland for the first time, in Edinburgh.

• The launch of William Grant’s new, state-of-the-art distillery in Girvan, complete with cutting-edge bottling line (which was literally a bunch of ladies sticking labels on bottles).

• Trade complaints over rises in alcohol and tobacco duty (showing that the more things change, the more they stay the same).

• A typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen having a devastating knock-on effect on the city’s licensed trade. 

• A ‘massive campaign’ to change Sunday trading hours. At the time pubs could only open from 12.30pm until 2.30pm and from 6.30pm until 10pm on Sundays. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association spearheaded a campaign to switch afternoon trading to 12 noon until 2pm and evening trading to 5pm until 10pm. 

• Islanders on Lewis complaining that they couldn’t get a pint (at the time the only licensed premises on the island were in Stornoway).

• Corruption in Ayrshire! A member of Ayr Licensing Court was charged with accepting a bribe from a landlady in exchange for favourable rulings (he was later acquitted). 

Spirits of past, present and future

SLTN’s 60th anniversary gets underway in February with a look at the Scottish spirits sector over the past six decades. 

It’s a drinks category that’s seen enormous change – both in the brands stocked on the back-bar and customer attitudes. 

We’ll be talking to some long-serving publicans and operators to get a feel for how the landscape has changed, as well as some of the brands that have stood the test of time. 

We’ll also be launching a cocktail competition, with a grand final to be held later in the year. 

A pint of your finest

SLTN officially turns 60 in April 2024 so what better time to look at the trade’s biggest drinks category? 

Beer’s come a long way since 1964, with traditional ales giving way to lager, world beers and then a more recent influx of craft brewers. 

How has this changed the day-to-day for Scotland’s pubs and bars? And how has the Scottish beer drinker changed over the past six decades?

Shake awake

In addition to the grand final of SLTN’s cocktail competition, June will see us looking at that most creative of on-trade arenas, the cocktail. 

Younger readers may be forgiven for thinking cocktails have only been a consideration in the past couple of decades, but a glance over SLTN’s back issues shows an explosion of new cocktail bars in 1964. 

How has the cocktail scene developed from then till now? And what have the country’s mixology maestros learned from the generations that came before? 

From fine dining to everywhere

Wine wasn’t always the on-trade powerhouse it is today. In August we’ll be looking at how wine became such a huge consideration for Scotland’s licensed premises, and the cultural changes that helped wine expand out of the high-end restaurants and into the mainstream. 

 You gotta serve somebody

It’s probably safe to say customer service wasn’t always a priority across Scotland’s pubs and bars. In November SLTN will focus on the huge strides the country has made as Scotland evolved into the world class visitor destination it is today. 

We may even have a few funny stories from those less-than-stellar days to share with you!

For more information on SLTN’s 60th anniversary visit sltn.co.uk