Brewery business booming as Scots seize on growing thirst for craft beer

Pic Greg Macvean - 01/07/2016 - Paul Gibson of Campervan Brewery pictured in the Botanic Gardens ahead of him doing live beer brewing there next weekend with some of their rhubarb
Pic Greg Macvean - 01/07/2016 - Paul Gibson of Campervan Brewery pictured in the Botanic Gardens ahead of him doing live beer brewing there next weekend with some of their rhubarb
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The number of breweries in Scotland has increased by almost 230 per cent in the past eight years thanks in part to drinkers’ growing taste for craft beers.

In 1970 there were 11 breweries in Scotland, but a new report from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) said that number has “increased massively”. There are now 115 breweries across the country of which more than four-fifths are micro-breweries.

The Spice report said: “Globally, beer consumption has been falling for decades. However, this has not dampened the significant brewery start-up rate, responding to consumers choosing to drink more expensive, specialised beers.

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“Scotland’s craft breweries have flourished over recent years with a plethora of new breweries entering the market. Year-on-year over the period 2010 to 2018, the number of breweries has increased. This rapid period of expansion has resulted in the beer manufacturing business base increasing by 229 per cent over the eight-year period.”

While just four local authority areas contained breweries in 2010, now half – 16 of the 32 separate regions – are home to at least one brewing business.

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“Both urban and rural areas have benefited from the explosive growth of the sector,” the report found.

“Edinburgh and Highland local authority areas have the highest intensity of brewing activity in Scotland.”

Leith’s Campervan Brewery is among the new outlets to open in recent years, with craft beer maker Paul Gibson launching the venture in the summer of 2015.

Breweries had an average turnover of £271,310 this year – lower than the average business turnover of £673,000.

But 10 per cent of breweries had sales levels worth more than £1 million, while just over half (52 per cent) had turnover levels that were below £100,000.

The research also found Scotland has 128 malt and grain distilleries, giving the country the largest concentration of whisky producers in the world.