Kerr’s Dairy, best known as John Kerr & Son Dairymen ltd, has been delivering milk to the Dundee and surrounding areas community for over 120 years. Formerly known as Balfield Farm, Kerr’s Dairy was founded by Sandy Kerr in the 1900’s. Using traditional methods of dairy farming and providing door-to-door delivery by horse and cart, the horses were ready to go at 4:00 AM every morning 7 days a week 365 days a year.
Sandy Kerr called his son John Kerr (known as Johnny). This was the start of the John Kerr generation. Johnny started working on the dairy farm at the age of 10 years old. After the passing of his father, Johnny took the reins of the business. In 1961 Johnny sold the land of the farm to Dundee City council so they could build St Johns Secondary School. Johnny then built a purpose build dairy on Clepington Road and introduced revolutionary machinery to process and bottle milk. The new machinery could fill 4800 glass bottles in an hour, automatically rejecting any chipped or cracked bottles (this was pioneering at that time). The only manual labour needed was the carrying in of the milk churns and carrying the crates out to the lorries.
In 1933 the next generation arrived; a son named John Kerr. This is where the tradition of John Kerr started, with the dairy now changing its name to John Kerr & Son. There is a running joke within the family that the reasoning behind naming his son John was to save the expense of having to change the name on the milk bottles! John Kerr the 2nd, known as Iain Kerr (Gaelic name for John), started working for his father at the young age of 8 and continued running the dairy up until his retirement at the age of 60. Johnny was all work and no play with the dairy always coming first. His son Iain joined a football club without his father’s knowledge. He actually had to change his name and was known as Bobby to his football team for fear his father would see his name in the newspaper.
The fourth generation was John Kelvin Kerr. Born in 1960, he was named after his father and the golfer Kelvin Nagle, who won the British Golf Open that year at St Andrews. Known as Kelvin, he started work at the young age of 9 and is still working at the dairy today. Kelvin Snr moved the dairy from Clepington Road in 1998 after being approached from the builders of Kingsway Retail Park to sell the land. From 1998 until just recently John Kerr & Son Dairymen Ltd was situated on Strathmartine Road, Dundee.
The fifth generation, John Kelvin Kerr was born in 1984. Best known as Kelvin Jnr, his working life started at 12 years old collecting milk money on a Friday after school. When he turned 14, he started delivering milk before school starting at 4am. Growing up, Kelvin Jnr dabbled in other work opportunities before finally settling back into the dairy at the age of 24 as a shop driver. At that time, doorstep deliveries had dwindled. Kelvin Jnr took this as an opportunity and challenge. After two years working as a driver, Kelvin, and his best friend Paul (PJ) got to work building the doorstep deliveries to 2000 customers. Three years ago, with the issues of plastic pollution in the environment being at the forefront of the public conscience, Kelvin saw an opportunity to introduce glass bottles. With this change came the growth of the business. In 2018, the business was selling an average of 750 glass bottles a week. This has rapidly grown to over 80,000 bottles sold per week to over 14,000 customers. In January 2020 a monumental moment occurred as Kelvin took an opportunity to start deliveries in Aberdeen, the first time the dairy had operated out of Dundee and the surrounding areas. With deliveries going well, Kelvin then took on a depot in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen in June 2020. With the expansion going well in Dundee too, the business had outgrown the Depot at Strathmartine Road. A new move for the dairy to a bought premises on Ash Street in Dundee occurred on Wednesday 9th June 2021.
On 7th April 2021, the 6th generation arrived. This time however, Kelvin Jnr wanted his son to be called by his first name. He was therefore named Kelvin John Kerr. This would stop the confusion of any mail which was an issue for Kelvin Snr and Jnr whilst working together!