Sharp takes chair in new trade group

Scottish brewers join forces to push exports

Dougal SharpEIGHT of Scotland’s best-known beer producers came together at the Scottish Parliament tonight to launch The Brewers’ Association of Scotland (TBAS), a trade body aiming to grow the industry north of the border.

Dougal Sharp (pictured), chief executive at Edinburgh-based Innis & Gunn, has been named as the first chairman.

Members will share experiences to help grow exports and ensure quality.

Mr Sharp said: “This is an association founded by brewers for brewers. We have a largely rural economy in Scotland and so our needs are different to our parts of the UK. I think our organisation will have a different outlook to our trade bodies.”

TBAS hopes all 80 Scottish breweries will sign up and is launching the first census of the industry to establish the size of each brewery and how they want to grow over the next ten years.

The association received a grant from the Scottish Government. Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, addressed the launch event.

Among the founding members are Cairngorm Brewery, Fyne Ales, Harviestoun, Inveralmond Brewery, Stewart Brewing, West Brewery and Williams Bros.

At its peak, the Scottish beer industry supported about 280 breweries before mergers in the 19th century brought the total down to 36.

The current renaissance in brewing was triggered by small brewers’ rate relief on duty, which was introduced by the-then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in 2003.

TBAS is the second organisation to bear the name – the previous body was created in 1907 and grew out of the Edinburgh Brewers’ Association.

The former Brewers’ Association of Scotland became the Brewers’ & Licensed Retailers’ Association in 1994 and then the Scottish Beer & Pub Association in 2002, which is now part of the wider British Beer & Pub Association.

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