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Black Isle Brewery

Based in Munlochy, Scotland’s only organic brewery, Black Isle Brewery, has been awarded a grant from the Scottish Government’s Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

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Support during COVID-19

Black Isle Brewery has been making organic beer for 21 years. The company employs more than 40 full-time staff across the business and exports around the world. They are firm believers in sustainability and environmentally considerate processes.

The company has been constantly reinvesting in the business and their people and were expecting to continue to grow in 2020, however the outbreak of COVID-19 nearly resulted in financial disaster. 80% of their business was lost overnight and most staff had to be furloughed. Founder David Gladwin had only recently returned from a sales trip to Japan where he had secured new orders but these have had to be put on hold since the lockdown.

To ensure the company’s survival they turned their attention to the few growth areas of mail-order, home delivery, and supermarkets, increasing volume in this sector, picking up new listings, and developing better trading relationships. Fortunately, due to previous investment, they already had the right products and packaging and were well placed to supply existing customers, and to meet the demand of new customers.

The grant, approved by HIE through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, will allow Black Isle Brewery to develop their growth areas with new equipment and improved efficiencies.

The firm started opening their outlets with outdoor seating areas on 6 July and re-opened fully in mid-July. They hope to be able to salvage some of the summer and see a rapid bounce-back and recovery in the autumn.

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund was managed by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies on behalf of Scottish Government. There was a high demand for the fund which received more than 5,000 applications Scotland-wide. Grants totalling almost £20m have been approved by HIE to 372 businesses across the Highlands and Islands.