ARRAN Brewery, the fast-growing micro-brewer that has taken over the Isle of Skye Brewery and the former Rosebank distillery in Falkirk in recent months, has sealed a deal to bottle and distribute beer from the famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich.
If plans to convert Rosebank into a bottling plant go ahead, the German company’s beer will be bottled in Falkirk, while the Scottish firm’s tipples will be bottled in Germany as part of managing director Gerald Michaluk’s international expansion plans.
Michaluk told The Scotsman that he visited Germany with a view to finding beers to sell in a German-style cellar bar beneath his first pub in Glasgow.
But discussions with the state-owned brewery progressed well and the entrepreneur was able to sign a bottling contract too.
Michaluk said: “This fills a gap in our range by providing us with a first-class premium lager.
“Beers will be initially imported but in future the plans are to import the beers in bulk and bottle them at the Rosebank brewery and distillery.”
Last month Michaluk revealed that he had bought the former Rosebank distillery from Scottish Canals and planned to turn the site into a brewery and bottling plant, creating 70 jobs.
Arran Brewery also wants to start making whisky again in Falkirk by turning Rosebank into a micro-distillery.
When drinks giant Diageo – Scotland’s largest distiller and the maker of Bell’s, Johnnie Walker and Talisker – sold the site, it included a clause that whisky could not be made at Rosebank until after 2017. Michaluk has written to Diageo requesting permission to re-start whisky production sooner.
Rosebank, which opened in 1813, is often called one of Scotland’s great “silent” distilleries following its closure in 1993. Old casks of its triple-distilled Lowland whisky are still available, with its Scotch changing hands for hundreds of pounds a bottle.
Michaluk is in talks to raise £10 million to turn Rosebank into a bottling plant, brewery, distillery and visitors’ centre.
The Haufbräuhaus, which was founded in 1589, sells more than 30 million litres of beer and attracts 1.9 million visitors a year to its brewery.
Andreas Straub, export manager at Hofbräu München, said: “I am delighted to be working with the team from the Arran Brewery and the Skye Brewery and together we will bring the most traditional of German beers to the UK market.
“To have it marketed by two of Scotland’s iconic breweries – who like us believe in provenance, quality and tradition – is very good news.”
Arran Brewery is among a number of Scots micro-breweries that have unveiled expansion plans in recent months.
Last week, Alva-based Harviestoun said it aimed to double sales to £6m over the next three years by launching a range of 300ml bottles and growing its already thriving exports.
Aviemore-based Cairngorm Brewery last month revealed plans to build a bottling plant and expand its operations at a cost of £1.6m. Both Arran and Cairngorm plan to bottle beers from other micro-brewers.