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Supermarket success for island brewer Colonsay

Colonsay beer brands have been selling well across Scottish branches of Aldi. Picture: Jane Barlow

Colonsay beer brands have been selling well across Scottish branches of Aldi. Picture: Jane Barlow

  • by KRISTY DORSEY
 

THE owners of the remote Colonsay Brewery are hoping to capitalise upon an expanded audience following a successful craft ale promotion with discount supermarket chain Aldi.

The Hebridean brewer’s ­Colonsay 80 was among the best-selling of 27 brands featured in the retailer’s first-
ever Scottish Beer Festival. Sales of all brands across 
Aldi’s 44 Scottish stores topped 20,000 bottles in the first fortnight, about one-third of an overall order that has pumped £70,000 into the Scottish craft brewing sector.

David Johnston, manager and co-founder of Colonsay Brewery, said his share of that order – 2,000 bottles – was a substantial deal for a company whose annual output averages about 50,000 litres.

“It is great for us and the whole industry,” Johnston said. “Independent craft beer production in Scotland is growing hugely.”

Johnston and his partners began brewing in 2007 on 
Colonsay, which is thought to be the smallest island in the world with its own brewery. Sales of Colonsay 80, Lager and IPA generated about £90,000 of turnover last year.

Sales of Colonsay are mainly through off-trade suppliers such as independent local grocers and wine shops.

Richard Holloway, managing director of Aldi in Scotland, said the response to the festival reflected the growing popularity of craft beer.

“Aldi launched the Beer Festival on 1 November, and 60,000 bottles were delivered to our Scottish stores,” he said. “We expect to have sold half of that stock by the end of next week.”

 

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