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Closures hit figures

‘Robust’ brewing eases £800k loss at Innis & Gunn

Dougal Sharp

Dougal Sharp: ‘we have weathered the storm’

Pub and restaurant closures saw brewer Innis & Gunn post a loss of £800,000 in the year to the end of December during a “most challenging” year.

The company said it had turned in a ‘”robust” performance and, more positively, the brewing business achieved a small profit before tax, while operating profit improved with a swing of £312,000 from 2019.

With retail outlets largely closed, the brewing side of the business accounted for 97% of the group’s £21.3m turnover which was 12% down on the previous year.

The UK off-trade was up 28% YOY and in Scotland, Innis & Gunn became the number two Scottish beer brand, up two places.


Owned e-commerce accelerated, with the online shop growing 1,286% YOY.  In the key export market of Canada, there was a swing of 19% from 2019, with Innis & Gunn holding position as Canada’s number one import ale.

Innis & Gunn’s flagship beer, The Original, grew by 7.4%, a positive swing of 26.2%, driven by growth in the UK and internationally. 

Innis & Gunn’s lager beer grew 5.3% overall, a particularly strong performance as historically a significant portion of volume has been delivered through the UK on-trade.

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The premium lager continues to be Scotland’s number one craft lager brand and the largest and most valuable craft beer, contributing 84% of all craft lager volume and 83% of all craft lager value growth in the Scottish off-trade.

This trend has continued into 2021, with significant new listings secured for Innis & Gunn’s lager beer, which will be available across almost 500 Tesco stores throughout England from this month. 

These new listings, coupled with the new on-trade distribution partnership with C&C Group, will play a key part in Innis & Gunn’s growth plans to expand into England.

There was no update on plans for the new brewery at the Heriot-Watt campus. Funds raised through the Beer Money Crowdfund remain on the balance sheet.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and master brewer, said: “It is fair to say that Innis & Gunn has had a strong 2020, despite it being the most challenging year in this businesses’ history and we have weathered the COVID-19 storm.

“We also used time in 2020 to focus on the future of Innis & Gunn, with the growth plans implemented already seeing significant success across the business.

“The closure of the on-trade impacted what would have been our 17th year of consecutive growth, but that aside, we have seen huge success in the off-trade and through our own e-commerce channel and we are in a strong position.”

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