Innis & Gunn chief ‘excited’ by new brewery plans

CRAFT beer company Innis & Gunn today unveiled plans to build its own brewery, funded by a £3 million bond issue which it hopes drinkers of its products will invest in.

Dougal Sharp founded Innis & Gunn  now he will be one of the investors buying into the BeerBond. Picture: Contributed
Dougal Sharp founded Innis & Gunn  now he will be one of the investors buying into the BeerBond. Picture: Contributed

The Edinburgh-based company is in negotiations to purchase an unidentified site in south-east Scotland for a brewery capable of producing around 24 million bottles of beer a year.

The Innis & Gunn BeerBond is an initial four-year investment offering an interest rate of 7.25 per cent gross a year with a minimum stake of £500.

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Investors can also opt for another bond which offers an equivalent of 9 per cent gross interest rate per annum but which will be paid in vouchers which can be redeemed against beer at the Innis & Gunn online shop.

The move comes just days after fellow Scots beer company BrewDog announced a record £25m crowdfunding appeal.

Founder Dougal Sharp told The Scotsman that the decision to start brewing inhouse rather than continuing to use external breweries had come on the back of continued global sales growth for the capital firm. “When we launched the company in 2003 we took the decision to invest in developing the brand and the oak-ageing process rather than building our own brewery. Now the brand is very well established the time is right to bring our activities under one roof.”

Sharp said the surge in interest in craft beer around the world also meant it was an ideal time to raise money to build the facility, which will include a bottling line and barrel store. and which would enable the company to brew small-run limited edition and seasonal batches.

Since being set up, Innis & Gunn has grown to become a £11.8m turnover business, up from £10.5m in 2013.

Last year it sold more than 20 million bottles of beer and is the second-biggest supplier of craft beer to the UK off-trade.

“At Innis & Gunn, we’ve always been fanatical about ingredients and brewing, and creating awesome, incredible-tasting beers, which push the boundaries even further. We believe that flavour is the most important thing, it’s what gets us all out of bed in the morning. We want drinkers to love our beer, to find tastes, flavour and textures that they’ve never experienced before,” said Sharp.

“Our state-of-the-art brewery is where we will get even more creative and make epic new beers for craft beer drinkers to enjoy. The BeerBond is all about inviting our fans and the craft beer community to invest to help us build this brewery and we hope they’ll join us on this exciting new venture for Innis & Gunn.”

Sharp, a former head brewer at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Brewery, said that the opportunity for him to build a “turbo charged test kitchen” to develop new beers was “hugely exciting”.

Applications for the BeerBond, which is not protected from loss by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, are due to close on 16 June. Every investor can also have their name inscribed on the new brewery building.

Sharp said he would be personally investing in the bond issue but declined to say how much.

Exports made up 71 per cent of turnover last year and the brand is now the most popular bottled import into Sweden, and the most popular bottled British beer in Canada.

UK turnover showed strong growth following the introduction of lager and a toasted oak IPA to the firm’s core stable of beers. Its flagship brand, Original, is now the best-selling bottled beer by value in the Scottish off-trade.

Set up in 2003 as a joint venture with whisky group William Grant, the company was bought out by its current management team in 2008.