Scottish brewer warns of challenges despite pubs reopening

Small independent breweries are still facing major challenges despite most pubs in Scotland having reopened, a business owner has warned.

David McGowan, of Broughton Brewery in the Borders, said half as many pubs were now selling his beers as they could not afford to stock the range they had previously.

He said it was having a knock-on effect to microbreweries across Scotland.

His warning came as pubs were closed in Aberdeen due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr McGowan, who lives in Edinburgh, said half of the 250 pubs on his books were now not ordering from him.

He said: "Because of social distancing measures, pubs are not getting the same number of customers into their premises and they also have restricted opening hours.

"This has meant pubs have had to stock a restricted range of beers to minimise costs. So a pub that normally stocks seven or eight beers is now only stocking three or four."

As a major employer in Broughton, Mr McGowan said he felt a huge pressure to keep the brewery from going under.

He said: "I am anxious for the business and for the workers who have dedicated their lives to the business.

"Our head brewer, Ian Smith, has been with us for more than 35 years and has specialist skills that mean we can produce our hand-crafted beers.

"There is also a knock-on effect from all of this as we use traditional ingredients that are locally sourced so we need to make sure we stay in business for all our suppliers too."

Mr McGowan said there had been a revival in recent years in Scotland of microbreweries, a brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (two million litres) a year and with a focus on quality, flavour and brewing technique.

The Broughton Brewery has dropped in production from 600,000 litres a year to 400,000 litres due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: "One hundred years ago there were 150 breweries in Scotland and then in the 90s it dropped to 10.

"However, now it is back up to 150 breweries again, which is great as we need to keep this tradition going.

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