Brewing sector can add £1 billion to Scots economy each year by 2030

Brewing Industry Leadership Group chair Hilary Jones: 'Scotland has a precious reputation for brewing quality, but we need a new national and unified approach which maximises potential'. Picture: Gary Hutchison
Brewing Industry Leadership Group chair Hilary Jones: 'Scotland has a precious reputation for brewing quality, but we need a new national and unified approach which maximises potential'. Picture: Gary Hutchison
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Scotland’s brewing sector has the potential become a £1 billion industry by 2030 by building on its “precious” global reputation, says a report released today by the national agency for food and drink.

Trade association Scotland Food & Drink has unveiled an ambitious strategy which aims to double the brewing sector’s annual contribution to the Scottish economy by championing local beer over imported drinks and focusing on quality.

The Brewing Up A Storm report uses the findings by the Brewing Industry Leadership Group, a body formed this year which has been tasked with identifying the challenges of growing the Scottish brewing sector and supply chain.

The new strategy aims to establish new, high value employment opportunities, produce more Scottish beer and increase its value by making Scotland-brewed beer “the most desirable in the world”.

It forms part of the trade association’s wider goal to make the Scottish food and drink sector worth more than £30bn annually by 2030.

Scotland currently has 132 operating breweries supporting more than 8,000 jobs. The sector has a total revenue of £500 million each year, with 10 per cent of Scots breweries turning over more than £1m.

Hilary Jones, chair of the Brewing Industry Leadership Group, said: “Scotland has a precious reputation for brewing quality and there are many opportunities for future growth, but we need a new national and unified approach which maximises potential and drives quality.

“The strategy launched today brings a collaborative approach between over a dozen agencies to tackle several challenges, including infrastructure, tax, marketing, exporting and the availability of a ready-skilled group of people who see brewing as a desirable career of choice.

“The rising popularity of global craft beer means that Scotland needs to sharpen its game to remain an international leader.”

A recent study by the Scottish Parliament found that, although global beer consumption has been falling, the number of start-up breweries has increased.

The majority of the growth has been in the micro-brewery market, which now represents 83 per cent of Scotland’s brewing base, said the study.

Jones added: “We want Scottish brewing to grow into a £1bn industry by 2030, creating new jobs in urban and rural areas. We want consumers to buy Scottish beer, rather than imported beer, and to drink beer responsibly.”

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “This strategy is important because it is the first time that our fantastic brewing industry has united to deliver a growth plan for the future.

“Working with many partner agencies with a common purpose means that we have a strong chance of success and this, in turn, will feed into our ambition for the Scottish food and drink sector to be worth over £30bn a year by 2030.”