ARRAN Brewery owner Gerald Michaluk has “slammed the brakes” on plans to expand on the island and open a bottling plant in Falkirk after enterprise minister Fergus Ewing rejected a £1 million grant application.
Michaluk planned to create ten jobs on Arran as a result of the expansion and a further 67 at a bottling plant in the former Rosebank distillery in Falkirk.
He told The Scotsman he now holds out little hope of receiving a £1.6m grant for the Falkirk site after the minister turned down the application for Arran.
Michaluk said he will press on with plans to open a micro-brewery and bottling line in Falkirk and that he was in negotiations with Diageo, Scotland’s largest distiller, to re-open a distillery on the site ahead of a current restriction expiring in 2017.
But he said his plans will take “much longer” without a grant and the lack of support added to the perceived risk for investors as he tries to raise £10m. “The government didn’t think we could grow turnover ten-fold, even though BrewDog and Innis & Gunn have done that over the same time frame,” he said.
“The appeals process is also a joke – it takes a year and you appeal to the people who made the original decision.
“The whole foundation stone was the government would want to support job creation on an island – it didn’t cross my mind that it wouldn’t, especially as we’ve had great support from Scottish Enterprise.”
The Scottish Government failed to return calls for comment yesterday.
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