University collaboration

Brewery go-ahead fulfils founder’s 20-year dream

Innis & Gunn brewery

Artist’s impression of the new brewery

Brewer and pubs group Innis & Gunn has been given the go-ahead to build a long-planned brewery at Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park.

Spanning a two-hectare site, the new facility will provide increased brewing capacity to support the brewer’s continued growth in the UK and internationally.

Planning permission has been granted by Edinburgh City Council for what will be the first large-scale brewery to be built in the city for more than 150 years.

The company, although headquartered in Edinburgh, has brewed its beers at Tennent’s Wellpark brewery in Glasgow and at is own brewery in Perth.

Earlier this year, Tennent’s owner, the Dublin-based C&C Group, acquired an 8% holding in Innis & Gunn.

The Heriot-Watt project is a collaboration between Innis & Gunn and the University with students at the School of Brewing and Distilling able to spend time on placement in the brewery.

Further collaboration is envisaged in fields such as low carbon brewing technologies, product and packaging innovation, and new product development.

Plans for the brewery were submitted in May 2020, following a successful crowdfund campaign on the Seedrs platform which raised £3.3 million by selling 2% of its share capital to more than 2,000 investors. The total budget for the brewery is £20 million.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder, Innis & Gunn said: “I have wanted to build this brewery in Edinburgh for almost two decades and as the business has grown and gone from strength to strength, the importance has only increased.

Dougal Sharp

Dougal Sharp: planning brewery for almost two decades

“To have planning permission now granted at such an inspiring site is an important step forward.

“Plans for the brewery have taken a natural pause as we all continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, but we are committed to building the brewery when the time is right.

“Although we cannot give an exact date for breaking ground, the longer timeframe does have some positives including more options in the market for the best low-carbon equipment and technology, which have the potential to change the game in terms of energy usage in brewing and packaging processes.

“Over the last year or so, everyone at Innis & Gunn has worked hard to ensure a strong supply chain for our customers and drinkers alike.

“Our latest published accounts show that our sales in the off-trade increased by almost 30% year on year and this success during a challenging time, only strengthens the business and our need to have our own brewery.”

Lynda Johnstone, global director, estates and facilities at Heriot-Watt University, commented: “This is an exciting time for everyone involved.”

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