Thursday, 20 December 2012

Arran expands – so does everyone else

Arran Brewery MD Gerald Michaluk,
and Skye Brewery MD Angus MacRuary.
Photo: Arran Brewery
The Arran Brewery has been in the news quite a bit recently with several ambitious new projects. There have been plans to expand production on the island for quite some time, but it came as a surprise to many when Arran and the Isle of Skye brewery announced a merger.

Arran boss Gerald Michaluk sees huge potential exports to the United States buoyed on the romanticism of the brands Skye and Arran. So he says both breweries will remain open and both will be expanded.

Michaluk is a busy man. The company has also recently purchased and relaunched the defunct Beers of the World magazine. And that’s not all. A brand new brewery is planned, on the site of the former Rosebank distillery in Falkirk.

Wait, there’s something else. As reported in the Scotsman, Arran/Skye has reached an agreement with the legendary Munich Hofbräuhaus to bottle and distribute their beer in Scotland.

Not content with all that, Michaluk is planning a new bar in Glasgow city centre to retail the combined operation’s products. It will be over two floors and one floor will be Bavarian-themed, pushing the Hofbräu beers, roast pork shanks and the like. I am not sure the good folks at WEST will be too pleased by this competition on their own turf.

Arran/Skye is not the only brewery expanding, however. Brewdog’s new brewery has finally opened to pump out more beer for tossers. West has finally got plans and funding in place for their new operation in the north of Glasgow, which will free up the brewpub kit for new specials. Work has just begun on constructing Stewart Brewing’s major new brewery. Harviestoun, Cairngorm and Fyne Ales are both planning substantial expansions. There are even rumours that Innis & Gunn plan to establish their own brewing facility. That’s in addition to the new nano- and microbreweries that continue to pop up at an incredible rate.
The question is, who is going to drink all this beer? These new facilities combined are going to produce a serious amount of beer, not the amounts a new little micro brings onto the market. They are relying partially on exports, but must also also hoping the current beer boom in Scotland continues. Can the market absorb so much extra beer? That’s anybody’s guess, as things are still so volatile. But there is so much dynamism in Scottish beer right now that I think it’s possible. I really do.


  1. Really interesting points Rob. Maybe the market in Scotland will change enough. I would imagine that a lot of beer will have to go to England.

    Can't really see Tennents quaking in their boots though. But as you say, we'll see.

  2. I am sure Tennents are well aware of developments in the marketplace. But with two out of three pints in the on-trade, they have plenty of time to decide what to do about it.