DCSIMG

Knops toasts new home with brewery expansion plan

Robert Knops at the brewing premises at Archerfield. The walled garden is being converted to include a bar, restaurant and market garden. Photograph: Esme Allen

Robert Knops at the brewing premises at Archerfield. The walled garden is being converted to include a bar, restaurant and market garden. Photograph: Esme Allen

  • by PETER RANSCOMBE
 

KNOPS Beer Company will move into a new brewery 
on the upmarket Archerfield estate in East Lothian next month in the latest expansion for Scotland’s fast-growing craft beer industry.

The Edinburgh-based brewer, which was launched in 2010 by industry veteran Bob Knops, has been making its beers at Traditional Scottish Ales (TSA) in Stirling but will now lease the purpose-built plant from the estate.

The brewery is being built as part of Archerfield’s refurbished walled garden development, which will also host a Snoozebox temporary hotel during the Open at nearby Muirfield this summer.

Knops – who worked at Bass, Molson Coors, Stewart Brewing and Whitbread before striking out on his own – has been in talks for the past two years to take over the site.

He told Scotland on Sunday: “We turned over about £70,000 last year, up from £18,000 when we started out, but in the short term I want to ramp that up to £1 million within the next three years.

“Longer-term, we aim to turn over between £5m and £7m, although that will take perhaps five to seven years, by which point Archerfield will be at capacity. At that stage we could be employing about ten people, but we’ll start by creating two jobs on the site.”

The brewery will produce Knops’ core range of beers – Black Cork, California Common, India Pale Ale and Musselburgh Broke – along with a selection of seasonal tipples.

Opening the site will also let Knops start producing cask ales again after a six-month hiatus, with barrels for pubs expected to account for 70 per cent of production.

He will initially target the Edinburgh market before looking at distribution to Fife, Glasgow and Newcastle.

The brewer then has his eye on exports, with enquiries already coming in from Denmark, Finland and Japan.

Knops added: “We’re also looking to move into the keg market, which is becoming 
increasingly popular with Scottish craft brewers.”

Kegs can keep beer fresh 
for longer, allowing firms to distribute their products more widely.

The company will also produce beers at the brewery under the Archerfield label. The brand was launched last year, with the products being made at TSA’s Stirling plant.

Knops is the latest in a string of Scottish micro-breweries to take on its own premises, with Fallen Brewing moving into its own site in Stirlingshire, having previously used TSA’s services.

Some of the larger firms are also expanding, with Loanhead-based Stewart Brewing moving into larger premises and BrewDog flitting from Fraserburgh to Ellon.

Petra Wetzel is taking over the former Diageo cooperage at Port Dundas for her West Brewery, while Arran Breweries has unveiled plans to 
open a site at the former Rosebank distillery in Falkirk, following its merger last year with the Isle of Skye Brewery. Cairngorm, Harviestoun and Houston are also expanding.

 

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