John Dunsmore, who is also a former chief executive of Tennent’s owner C&C Group, has converted an industrial unit in the west of the city into a microbrewery and plans to open it up to the public before next summer.
Described as “unashamedly modern and urban”, the Edinburgh Beer Factory has already unveiled its first product – a craft lager named after Eduardo Paolozzi, the Leith-born printmaker and sculptor credited as a founding figure of the Pop Art movement.
The brewing start-up enters a booming sector which has seen a raft of new names come to the fore in recent years including BrewDog, Innis & Gunn and West.
It is estimated that, UK-wide, there was a 24 per cent increase in the number of new breweries opening in the past year, outstripping the number opened in the previous year, when there was an 8 per cent rise.
Dunsmore’s wife Lynne and daughter Kirsty are also founding members of the Edinburgh Beer Factory. The brewery’s name is, in part, a tribute to two of Dunsmore’s personal heroes – Andy Warhol, whose New York studio was dubbed The Factory, and Tony Wilson, the late founder of Manchester’s Factory Records.
Dunsmore said: “I’ve been excited by the creativity and agility I’ve seen in the smaller companies I’ve been working with in the past few years; it’s spurred me on to create something from scratch.
“With a family-owned business there’s no compromise driven by external shareholder pressure – you can make the right decisions based on strong values and a long term perspective. Scotland can be great if it makes things happen, and this is exactly the right set-up to do just that: small and nimble; young and old; male and female.”
The Dunsmores have been joined by head brewer David Kemp and Mike Meletopoulo from Heriot-Watt university; ex-Tennent’s and Harviestoun sales manager Gregor Harris, and Rosie Nicholson from investment club HotHouse.
The Paolozzi lager is said to be based on an historic Munich style but created with “contemporary Italian brewing technology”. The bottles will feature designs by the artist, who died in 2005, and the beer is endorsed by the Paolozzi Foundation, with the brewery making a charitable donation for every bottle and pint sold.
It is launching in Edinburgh and Glasgow this month, with plans to expand it across the UK over the course of 2016.
Dunsmore – a director and investor at London-based brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner – said a brewery shop would be opening before Christmas with tours, events and a bar/cafe in the pipeline for summer 2016.