Partnership extended

Innis & Gunn delays brewery plan as C&C takes 8% stake

Dougal Sharp

Dougal Sharp: brewery plan on hold

Innis & Gunn has put its new Edinburgh brewery plan on hold because of uncertainty in the market and has sold a stake in the business to the owner of Tennent’s.

Dublin-based C&C Group will take an 8% holding in Innis & Gunn whose brands will continue to be produced at C&C’s Wellpark brewery in Glasgow and at Innis & Gunn’s own facility in Perth.

The Edinburgh company’s plan to build a brewery at Heriot Watt university will be delayed because of current market conditions.

It reached its £3 million crowdfunding target to help finance the brewery this time last year.

The campaign, through the Seedrs platform, saw it sell 2% of its share capital to more than 2,000 investors.

Innis Gunn Edinburgh brewery

Innis & Gunn’s proposed new brewery

Founder Dougal Sharp said: “The new manufacturing agreement leaves all options on the table to allow us to build our Edinburgh Brewery when the time is right and when there is less uncertainty in the market caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

The partnership with C&C will significantly increase Innis & Gunn’s brand presence and investment in England.

C&C will use its position as the largest independent beverage-alcohol distributor in the UK and Ireland to increase the distribution and availability of Innis & Gunn beers in the on-trade, wholesale and free-trade channels, through its distribution businesses Matthew Clark in the UK and through Bulmers Ireland and Tennent’s NI in Ireland.

Innis & Gunn will continue to be responsible for all brand marketing and for sales and distribution to national pub chains, the off-trade and current international markets.

A long-term incentive scheme is also in place which will make a number of additional shares available to C&C based on performance targets being met.

Apart from Tennent’s, the Irish company’s brands include Bulmers, the leading Irish cider brand; Magners the premium international cider brand; and super-premium and craft ciders and beers, such as Heverlee, Menabrea and Orchard Pig.

Innis & Gunn founder Dougal Sharp said the company had become the sixth largest Scottish drinks brand in its home market last year.

“C&C’s strength in the on-trade across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and our long-term relationship, means we have solid foundations from which to build,” he said.

“C&C is the right partner with the right platform to help us accelerate our growth into these channels and seek to replicate the success the brand has enjoyed in Scotland. The partnership will also create immediate synergies enabling us to re-direct additional capital behind marketing and new product development.

“We are retaining our independence and gaining a new distribution partner which can help us to introduce our brand to a much wider audience.”

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Kenny Gray, managing director Scotland at Tennent’s, said “This new partnership with Innis & Gunn reflects well on our brand distribution model and it is exciting to welcome them into our portfolio.

“They will be a strong and complementary addition which no doubt will be well received by our customers who are increasingly seeking an extended range.

“As an equity partner our interests are naturally aligned to grow the brand. To that end, we will use our platforms to gain access to the larger UK and Irish markets as well as seeking to collaborate in other, new international markets where we see opportunities.”

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