By statute, brewers who imported beer or ale into Glasgow were required to pay a duty on their entire output—whether sold in the city or not—with the exception of overseas exports. The defenders, who were partners in the brewing firm of Murdoch, Warroch, and Company, paid the duty until 1780, when they unsuccessfully requested an exemption for the portion of their beer and ale that was sold outside of Glasgow. The defenders then announced that they would no longer sell any products into Glasgow; however, they offered to make sales to Glasgow residents at the brewery. At the same time, a merchant named Alexander Munro began purchasing beer at the brewery and delivering it to Glasgow residents. The magistrates and council of Glasgow sued the brewers. They alleged that the brewery was unlawfully evading the duty by routing its products through Munro, who used the company’s old storeroom and equipment. The defenders responded that their brewery did not fall under the statute, which was only meant to cover breweries closer to Glasgow. They also argued that the arrangement with Munro was an arm’s length bargain that should not subject them to the duty.

Published Reports

Paton's Scotch Appeals, House of Lords, Vols. 1-6 (1726-1821), pg. 615
John Boyd Kinnear, Digest of House of Lords Cases Decided on Appeal from Scotland, 1709-1864 (1865), pg. 307