Arran and Skye breweries unveil merger plans

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TWO of Scotland’s best-known micro-breweries are to join forces as part of plans to create a £15 million business and capture a larger share of the international beer market.

Details will be unveiled today of the all-share merger between Isle of Arran and Isle of Skye breweries, along with plans to raise £10m to fund the expansion strategy, which includes building a larger brewery on Arran, a bottling plant on the mainland and a chain of pubs.

Gerald Michaluk, the serial entrepreneur who rescued the Arran brewery from administration in 2008, said he is in talks with four groups of investors about taking stakes in the new holding company.

Michaluk remained tight-lipped over the identities of the investors but said they were “well-known names” and that he hopes to retain a 12.5 per cent stake in the enlarged company after the fundraising.

The combined business is expected to turn over about £1.5m next year but Michaluk – who runs the Arran brewery with his daughter, Veronica – aims to grow that figure ten-fold over the coming three years thanks to the combined company’s improved buying power for raw materials and its forthcoming bottling plant.

Angus MacRuary founded the Isle of Skye brewery 18 years ago and runs it with his wife, Pam, who is the head brewer. Michaluk told The Scotsman: “We bring our supermarket contacts with the likes of the Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to the table, while Angus brings his experience of overseas markets like Japan and the United States.”