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Swannay Brewery to export beer in new international markets

24 March 2015

An award winning brewery in Orkney is to expand production and create new jobs amid growing demand for its independently brewed beers.

The Highland Brewing Co’s ‘Swannay Brewery’ on Orkney’s west mainland, has seen sales of its varieties of craft beers in cask, bottle and keg beer soar in recent years.

With £123,300 financial support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), developments at the brewery will involve rebranding of the product range and significant international marketing to build sales activity in new countries including North America, Japan and Scandinavia.

The family-run Highland Brewing Co was established in 2005 Rob Hill and was joined by his son Lewis in 2011 and now employs a further four people.

The brewery has seen increasing demand for its award-winning range which includes Scapa Special, Dark Munro, Orkney IPA, Orkney Blast and Island Hopping and Duke IPA. Several Highland Brewing Co beers are national champions and have won the brewery a string of top international prizes worldwide.

The main development at the brewery will involve the installation of increased capacity enabling the company to produce more cask beers and will put more focus on keg products to complement sending bottled beers to the new export markets, both in the UK and around the world. 

Harvey Stevenson, head of strategic project at HIE in Orkney, said: “This is an exciting business that we have been closely involved with over the years.  We are delighted to be able to help again now that the company is moving up a gear and expanding into international markets. 

“With its award-winning and highly regarded products,  Highland Brewing has the potential to achieve a significant level of international business as sales have been steadily growing and there has been substantial interest from overseas, particularly the Far East and North America. This expansion will ensure that the business is well placed to cope with increasing demand whichever part of the globe it comes from."

Lewis Hill, said: “The craft beer market is thriving locally and globally and we are looking forward to engaging our UK customers more as well as doing Orkney, Scotland and the UK proud as we share our wares with beer-lovers in exciting new markets. The ongoing support provided by HIE is invaluable.”

The project is also receiving support from Clydesdale Bank.

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