Arran Brewery selling St Fillans site due to 'lack of funds' - and says next owner needs to invest £1.5m

Arran Brewery says it is selling its Loch Earn Brewery Hotel and Visitor Centre due to a lack of funds following a fire – adding that a new owner would need £1.5 million to bring the site up to spec.

It was revealed on Friday that the listed hotel building and brewery in the Highlands village of St Fillans, Crieff, was up for sale – for offers over £775,000.

The brewery has now said it decided “with a heavy heart” to proceed with the sale after attempts to form a joint venture with several parties regarding the site failed to come to fruition.

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The sale, which is being marketed by Christie’s, includes ten moorings, three piers, fishing, a brewery “with the potential to brew 3,500 litres a day”, a cider shack producing 1,000-litre batches, as well as a hotel with three bars, three restaurant areas, a coffee shop, and 39 bedrooms in the C-listed Victorian main building.

The site on the banks of Loch Earn includes a brewery with the capacity to produce 3,500 litres a day. Picture: contributed.
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Managing director Gerald Michaluk said: “It is with a heavy heart we are having to put the property on the market. We have not recovered from a small fire, following which the insurance company has still not settled our claim in full.

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Business interview: Gerald Michaluk, Arran Brewery
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"This has led to a lack of funds while the property needs around £600,000 spent on it to bring it up to spec. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have that kind of money, given the current downturn in the brewing industry, to put into the building. As such we have put the site on the market for offers over £775,000 but a new owner would need to have around £1,500,000 to acquire the site and to realise its full potential.”

The brewery acquired the site in 2013 and bought and installed a secondary brewery, “which is currently in need of commissioning”, in the outbuildings. It also cited plans to build a further three buildings and open both a whisky shop and a local produce shop.

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Arran Brewery recently acquired Flying Firkin, a wholesale beer distributor in the north of England, and is in the process of acquiring a 16,500-square-foot warehouse facility for this company. “The brewery is clearly broadening its focus to include the south,” it also stated.

In 2000 Arran Brewery was founded, and in August of last year it was taken over by new head brewer Craig Laurie.

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In April 2019 it announced plans to sell a 45 per cent stake in its Loch Earn Brewery Hotel and Visitor Centre. At the time, it stated that along with its backers it had already invested £700,000 in the site, with Mr Michaluk commenting: “By selling the stake in the business we can fund the remaining elements of the project and make it fly. There is a saying a piece of a big pie can be better than the whole of a small pie. We hope to find a partner who will share our vision for the site and that together we can complete this project and benefit our shareholders and stakeholders alike”

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