THE driving force behind Traquair House Brewery has called last orders - but the owners hope he may be pop in for a pint from time to time.

Ian Cameron arrived at the picturesque estate near Innerleithen at the start of the 1970s from his native Newcastle to work as an electrical engineer.

The fresh-faced Geordie showed an interest in helping the 20th Laird of Traquair, Peter Maxwell Stewart, in the newly restored brewery.

The house brewery was brought back to life by the Laird in the late 1960s after being neglected in the early 1800s.

Ian continued helping with the hops while working as the estate's groundsman.

And over the following few years he honed his skills as a brewer by helping produce some highly-regarded real ales.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart, the 21st Lady of Traquair, told the Peeblesshire News: “We will all be very sorry to see Ian retire as he has put so much work and commitment into the estate and the brewery over the years but he has certainly earned his retirement."

Production slowly increased at Traquair House Brewery during the 1980s, and enquiries came from all over the world leading to the first exports to the USA.

Finally in 1988 Ian took over as head brewer under the direction of the Laird - and from then on never looked back.

After Peter’s death in 1990 the brewery was taken over by his daughter, Catherine.

Ian oversaw the development and expansion from producing several hundred bottles a year to the current production of a quarter of a million.

And many of them are exported all over the world.

The beers from Traquair have won awards and recognition including being voted 20th best brewery in the world in 2005 by the website,

In the 1990s Ian was joined by assistant brewer Frank Smith, who now takes over as head brewer with new trainee Ross Doherty who was recently appointed.

Lady Maxwell Stuart added: "Fortunately Ian is staying on at Traquair so I am sure we will be calling on his many years’ experience now and again."

Traquair House Brewery currently produces five different ales, including Traquair House Ale, which has been brewed since 1965, Traquair Jacobite Ale, which is brewed to celebrate the anniversary of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, and Bear Ale, which has been produced since 1996.

This (Friday) evening, staff and friends of Ian will gather at Traquair House where a presentation to thank him for 45 years' service will take place.