WHEN the Tennent family first began brewing on the banks of a Glasgow burn in the 1500s, little did they know that tourists would one day flock to the site to hear their story.

Their small operation in the city’s East End went on to become Wellpark Brewery, home of the “cultural icon” Tennent’s Lager, and leading pioneer in the world’s beer industry.

And now the site will also be home to a new £1 million plus visitor centre that aims to become the leading beer tourism attraction in the UK.

Glasgow tourism chiefs hope the new centre will help the city meet its goal of attracting one million extra visitors a year by 2023.

Tourists spend about £1 billion a year on food and drink while visiting Scotland.

Alan McGarrie, group brand director for Tennent’s Lager, said: “The Tennent’s story is at the heart of Glasgow’s history and with this significant company investment at our home at Wellpark we are bringing the story to life – bigger and better than we ever have before, as we showcase the brewery, the beer and the brand.”

Records show that members of the Tennent family were brewing at the Wellpark site, on the banks of the Molendiner Burn, as far back as the 1550s.

However, it was in 1884 that founder Hugh Tennent - the last member of the family to own and operate the business - travelled to Bavaria and returned home with the idea of building a new lager brewery at the site.

The lager went on to receive plaudits from around the world, including the Gold Medal in Jamaica and the “Highest Possible and Only Award of Honour” in Chicago.

Tennent’s says the new visitor centre will look back to the early days in the 1500s and centre on the story of Hugh Tennent and his dream of creating a mass production brewery.

In 1966, the company underwent a merger with United Caledonian Breweries to become Tennent Caledonian Breweries. Now owned by C&C Group plc, the brand has also proved synonymous with the Scottish music and football scenes in more recent years, becoming a founding partner of Scotland’s biggest music festival, T in the Park, in 1994.

It has also sponsored the Scottish national football team, as well as both sides of the Old Firm, over the years.

The new attraction features motion capture animations developed by the Glasgow School of Art, artwork from graffiti artist Conzo Throb, stories from generations of Tennent’s alumni, as well as artefacts from days gone by.