Plans brewing for beer bottling co-operative

SCOTLAND'S small brewers are expected to band together to form a bottling and distribution co- operative, according to the owner of Glasgow's West brewery.

Petra Wetzel said craft brewers will meet in Glasgow tomorrow to discuss the formation of a Scottish small brewers' association to represent the sector.

While the purpose of such a body would be guided by its members, Wetzel said a bottling co-operative would be one of the topics discussed, and whether the association should lobby the Scottish Government on issues affecting the sector.

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She said the association would help to sell Scottish beers abroad, notably in the United States, where bodies such as the American Craft Brewers' Association are already active.

Wetzel said she had contacted between 45 and 50 small Scottish breweries and she expected a "98 per cent" attendance rate at tomorrow's initial meeting.

While bottling and lobbying could be potential outcomes for the association, Wetzel said the body could also help small brewers to share experience and help one another to source labels, bottles or raw materials.

Wetzel told The Scotsman: "When you're in a team, you're always stronger than if you're a lone fighter. I know that I couldn't run my business on my own without my team, and so why as a company should you have to run things by yourself without support?

"I've been getting a lot of interest from brewers since I floated the idea of an association, with a similar body in Oregon e-mailing to lend their support."

Wetzel said she expected about 100 people to attend a reception following tomorrow's meeting, which will be held at the West brewery on Glasgow Green.

Brewers expected to attend include Harviestoun, William Brothers and BrewDog.