Fyne Ales in plan to boost production and add jobs

MD Jamie Delap, right, and head brewer Malcolm Downie sample some Jarl ale. Picture: Gordon Burniston
MD Jamie Delap, right, and head brewer Malcolm Downie sample some Jarl ale. Picture: Gordon Burniston
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FYNE Ales has become the latest Scottish beer-maker to unveil expansion ambitions with plans to more than double production at the family-owned firm’s farmyard brewery.

A disused sheep shed will be home to a new £2 million brewing facility using British-made brewkit. The move will meet growing demand for beers such as its award-winning Jarl.

The development will create 12 jobs, taking the total number employed by Fyne Ales to 28. Turnover of £1.6m is expected to rise to more than £3m in 2015, and then to £5m in the following two years.

Based on the banks of Loch Fyne in Argyll, the brewery produces 90 barrels of beer a week, the equivalent of 27,000 pints. The first phase of expansion will double production to 180 barrels a week, with space to boost that to more than 800 barrels in five years’ time.

Despite the significant increase in volume, managing director Jamie Delap – whose parents founded the business in 2000 – said Fyne Ales would “stay true” to traditional British brewing techniques.

“Producing top-quality Scottish beer is the real focus for us,” he said. “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.”

The announcement from Fyne Ales comes in the wake of similar plans at Arran Brewery, which is looking to increase capacity tenfold by adding two mainland production sites to its existing brewery in Brodick. Aberdeenshire’s BrewDog expanded production at its brewery in Ellon last year. During that same period, Alva-based Harviestoun extended its beer range while also introducing a smaller bottle-size aimed at food-led pubs.

The Loch Fyne business was set up by Jonny and Tuggy Delap, who added a brewery to their fourth generation dairy farm as a way of using buildings that were lying unused. It also created much-needed employment.

Tom Kitchin, the Michelin-starred chef who stocks Fyne Ales at his Scran & Scallie restaurant in Edinburgh, welcomed the brewery’s expansion.

“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,” he said.

The project has received grant support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Food Processing, Marketing & Co-operation Scheme run by the Scottish Government. Fyne Ales also secured a £1m loan from Bank of Scotland through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme.