Argyll-based craft brewery – Fyne Ales – has turned the first soil on a £2 million expansion plan on their farm, which will treble turnover and meet growing demand for the company’s range of award-winning craft beers.
The development is co-funded with grant support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a Food processing, Marketing & Co-operation Scheme (FPMC) grant from the Scottish Government and a £1 million loan from Bank of Scotland supported by the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme as well as Asset Finance.
The expansion is expected to see this figure increase to over £5m in four years. The development is expected to create 10 construction jobs and 12 new permanent jobs in the company itself.
Fyne Ales, which has a turnover of £1.6m, currently produces 90 barrels of beer per week – the equivalent of 27,000 pints. The first expansion phase will see production increase to 180 barrels a week with space available to boost production to 120 barrels per day – the equivalent of 36,000 pints - in 5 years’ time.
Leading the expansion will be managing director Jamie Delap whose parents – Tuggy and Jonny – added a brewery to their 4th generation family farm in 2000 in response to the lack of quality beer available locally.
The farm’s sheep shed – built by Delap’s grandfather in the early 70s and originally used as sheep market – will host the £2 million brewery.
Delap said: “Producing top quality Scottish beer is the real focus for us. When a brewery announces it’s going to be expanding and introducing new techniques, there’s often concern from drinkers that it will change the taste of the finished product.
“In our case, the expansion is about meeting growing demand but first and foremost is an opportunity for us to get even more flavour and consistency into our beers using kit like a hopback which will extract brighter and fresher aromas from the hops.
“The new brewery will also allow us to mill malt on demand which will add a new level of freshness to our beers.
“Ultimately what we’re offering beer drinkers in Scotland and beyond is progressive thinking that also manages to stay true to traditional British brewing values and techniques.”
Despite how the £2 million expansion will significantly increase the volume of product produced and help the brewery achieve international targets, Delap is still committed to operating in symbiosis with the surrounding countryside:
“Our family have worked the farmland here at Loch Fyne for over 100 years. All our beers draw inspiration from the environment around us. This includes the infamous Argyll rain, which – within 24 hours of falling onto the hills around Loch Fyne – is the basis of our brews.”
Michelin-Starred Chef and proprietor of the Scran & Scallie, which stocks Fyne Ales, Tom Kitchin lent his support to the expansion adding:
“One of our aims when opening our gastro pub The Scran & Scallie in Edinburgh was to find the very best local ales to offer our guests. Family run breweries like Fyne Ales take a really personal approach to brewing which fits our philosophy at the pub. They’re taking old, traditional Scottish recipes and not only bringing them back but are reinventing and breathing new life into them.
“The beauty of sourcing beer from these local micro-breweries, is that they are made in much smaller quantities which means you get consistency and quality. It’s that attention to detail that we look for in all of our suppliers.”