Welcome to our interactive timeline where you can learn about our rich family history.
Our company story starts with Charlie and Jean Macsween who met whilst working at respected butcher and game dealer Orrs on Edinburgh’s George Street. When Mr Orr died they were encouraged to set up their own business by Mr Orr’s daughter, who offered them a loan of £5000.
Charlie and Jean Macsween opened the Macsween butchers shop in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield. The business quickly established a reputation for the quality of its meats and game, and for the friendly and knowledgeable service from Charlie at the butcher's block and Jean in the office. It was here that Charlie created the first Macsween Haggis and Black Pudding
John, Charlie’s eldest son had always been passionate about the family business and left school to join his parents: “The staff knew I was coming and they’d saved a special job for me. They had three geese waiting for me – it was the most hellish job on the earth, feathers everywhere, they really had a good laugh, the boss’ son plucking the geese.”
When Charlie passed away in 1975 the business was passed to John and his wife Kate.
Being the natural entrepreneur that he was, John, together with his wife, Kate saw opportunity aplenty in the specialised manufacture of haggis.
A chance to present Macsween haggis at a Scottish food fair in Selfridges paved the way for UK-wide sales. Soon the words ‘Macsween’ and ‘haggis’ become synonymous with the highest quality haggis and the Macsween brand became known nationally.
John Macsween creates the first vegetarian haggis to honour the opening of the Scottish Poetry Library.
John and Kate’s children, sister and brother Jo and James join the family business.
The multi-generation team commissions the world’s first dedicated haggis factory in Loanhead, Edinburgh and the company closes its retail operation in Bruntsfield.
The Macsween factory is expanded to cope with rising demands and is officially opened by HRH Prince Andrew.
John passes away after a life’s dedication to a business he loved so passionately. As his numerous obituaries testified, he achieved a very special place in people’s hearts all over the world. Jo and James Macsween take over the running of the business.
Macsween launches ‘1-minute’ microwaveable traditional & vegetarian haggis, followed by the ’90-second’ microwaveable black pudding. The innovative product range proved extremely popular and has helped attract new younger consumers
Macsween wins the 'Morrisons Award for Outstanding Business' at the IGD Food Industry Awards 2012. The prestigious industry award recognises those companies who have made an important contribution in the food and grocery industry, with the judges commending us for being 'a company with innovation as its lifeblood'.
Macsween launch new a new range of products for Marks & Spencer including haggis, vegetarian haggis, black and white pudding.
Jo’s first book rewrites the rules and demonstrates that haggis is a versatile ingredient, featuring 50 haggis recipes for all seasons, occasions and places. Available to buy from all good bookshops and online.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary James Macsween uses his expertise to handcraft two new products for the haggis connoisseur; a Venison Haggis infused with port, juniper, redcurrants and spices and a Threebird haggis of grouse, pheasant and duck, subtly smoked with quince, lavender and spices.
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Macsween hosted a writer in residence, who gathered stories from the whole team, learning about the people behind the product, identifying the things that connect the individual employees and that make the business special. The resulting stories were related back to the company through an open letter at our 60th anniversary celebrations. The raw truth, humour, nostalgia and boldness moved the whole audience.
Macsween haggis is awarded the highest accolade for the Guild of Fine Foods and becomes the only haggis to have ever won this award.
Macsween become one of the first food companies in Scotland to recycle 100% of its waste. A milestone that the company worked very hard to achieve.
The Special Edition Venison Haggis and Threebird Haggis pick up two awards at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence awards. Winning both the Retail Meat award and the top accolade of the night, the Product of the Year award.
Macsween were invited to produce a specially licenced, limited edition, Commonwealth Games Haggis, featuring a Commonwealth recipe card and official, individually numbered, Commonwealth holographic sticker.
Macsween launch the second phase of intriguing Special Edition products. This included Wild Boar, Chocolate and Chill Black Pudding and Moroccan Spiced Vegetarian.
James and Jo Macsween were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the food and drink industry at the Scotland Food and Drink Awards.
Macsween launch the Highlander Burger – a delicious blend of prime British beef and Macsween’s award-winning haggis, mixed with a secret blend of spices and pepper.
Macsween launch Highlander Meatballs – the world’s first haggis meatball. Bringing a modern twist to a traditional classic, the meatballs combine succulent beef with Macsween’s award-winning haggis and a blend of unique spices and pepper.
Macsween win Scottish Family Business of the Year 2016 at the Family Business United Awards. As a third generation family run company, we are proud of our traditional values and business achievements.
Macsween win the prestigious Food and Drink Federation Award for Regional Growth in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Expanding our product range, Macsween launch three new varieties of sausages – smoky pork & beer, pork & haggis and bacon & black pudding.
Macsween launch their first Gluten Free Haggis. Certified by Coeliac UK, it is made using the same high quality ingredients and traditional family, but uses gluten free oats as an alternative.
Macsween win the Chairman's Award - SME Client at the Marketing Society Star Awards. Selected by judges from entries across all categories, we were thrilled to be recognised alongside such big names in the Scottish marketing community.
Since our launch 60 years ago we've continued to win awards and accolades for our great tasting products, take a look.View awards
By using pioneering technologies we've become one of the first in Scotland to become completely land-fill free.Our sustainability
The traditional Burns Supper is a classic, but we know that there’s more than one way to celebrate the bard. So if you fancy celebrating Burns Night in a more informal style, we’ve put together the perfect blend of recipes to host your very own ‘Burns Buffet’.Read More