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Number of Scottish Breweries Doubles

A growing thirst for craft beer has resulted in the number of breweries in Scotland more than doubling in six years. Research shows that by the end of 2016 there were 115 breweries operating, compared with 55 in 2010.

It was a similarly positive trend for Scottish gin with a rise in demand leading to a 31 per cent increase in the number of distilleries from 145 to 190.

The boom in craft beer has led to a rise in employment in the sector from about 580 workers in 2011 to about 950 last year. The data, compiled by the SNP from reports by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre and Office for National Statistics, found that 21 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have a brewing or distilling business.

Edinburgh, the Highlands and Moray had the highest concentration of breweries while Moray, Highland and Argyll and Bute had more distilleries.

Demand for craft products, typically thought of as being produced by independent companies using traditional methods, is evident with brands such as BrewDog, Innis & Gunn, Williams Brothers and Stewart Brewing increasingly stocked in supermarkets. But while Scotland’s brewers are increasing in number, craft brands are thought to make up only 2.5 per cent of all beer sold in the UK.

Rachel Athey, of the Brewers Association of Scotland, believes there is plenty of room for further growth and said: “Consumers are bored of generic tasteless lager and are looking for quality beer with a story they can believe in and new Scottish breweries are delivering this.”

James Withers, of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “We have seen huge growth in new breweries in Scotland over the last few years. Consumers are more conscious of buying local authentic products.”

Scotland has also benefited from the increasing popularity of gin across the UK. It produces about 70 per cent of gin made in the UK and dozens of distilleries have opened in recent years.

There have also been new entrants into the Scotch whisky market as well as some existing companies opening new distilleries.
David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said that there were new facilities in Hawick, Fife and on the islands of Raasay and Islay. He said: “The number of new Scotch whisky distilleries, including around eight malt distilleries this year alone, reflects the long-term global opportunities for the sector and is providing welcome investment, jobs and tourism in communities across Scotland.”

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Scotland’s breweries are providing a wealth of job opportunities in my constituency, with three distilleries and a brewery on Skye alone, and increasing our offering of homegrown products for the rising tourist numbers.”

Source: - 18 August 2017