Edinburgh sour beer maker on a mission as turnover heads towards £5m

Edinburgh-based craft brewery Vault City is on track for turnover of £5 million after expanding its product line-up and growing its global reach.

The venture, which began as a home-brewing project in its co-founder’s spare bedroom, is now shipping internationally after receiving support and help with funding from Business Gateway. Vault City was launched to modernise traditional brewing styles with its own take on fruited sour beers. The beers are loaded with real fruit ingredients to develop flavours including the likes of “raspberry rocky road”, “strawberry sundae” and “blackcurrant choc chip waffle”. On a mission to convert non-beer and traditional beer drinkers, the brewery introduces new flavours every couple of weeks or so.

Co-founder Steven Smith-Hay, who describes himself as an “obsessed homebrewer”, had experimented with different sour and fruit beers while working in IT, and, with encouragement from his friends and family, took the plunge to set up Vault City in 2018. Through Business Gateway, he learned about the requirements needed to set up an alcohol business online and received specialist support to develop a website. Business Gateway was also instrumental in signposting Vault City to £100,000 of grant funding from Scottish Enterprise. The beer-maker, which has grown to a team of almost 30, now exports to more than 20 countries, including Singapore, Sweden and Thailand. It now has plans to break into the Chinese market.

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Smith-Hay said: “I spotted an opportunity to carve a niche in the craft beer industry, but I needed guidance to make it happen. Having one-to-one support from Business Gateway has been excellent. I’m really proud to say that four in every five sour beers sold in the UK comes from Vault City and can’t speak highly enough about the ongoing support I’ve received from Business Gateway since launching.”

Lindsey Sibbald, Business Gateway adviser, added: “Over the years, we have been able to support Vault City with a range of Business Gateway’s services. It has been fantastic to watch the business’ stratospheric growth since launching, which is testament to Steven and the team’s dedication. I look forward to watching them continue to grow and to find out what flavour is next on the cards.”



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