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Scottish craft brewery responds to ‘devastating blow’ of hospitality restrictions

Stuart Cook, joint managing director at Harviestoun Brewery. Picture Copyright Chris Watt

One of Scotland’s most awarded independent breweries has responded to the recent Scottish Government announcement which has forced pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland to close for more than two weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus.

New coronavirus restrictions were announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 7th October. Stricter restrictions were announced across five health board areas in central Scotland and beyond, including the Forth Valley.

Stuart Cook, joint managing director at Harviestoun Brewery, which is based at Alva, near Stirling, said:

“This is a devastating blow to both breweries and pubs around Scotland. Pubs shutting initially for the lockdown meant a devastating 75 per cent of our revenue disappeared overnight. Thankfully, a nimble change in strategy to online sales allowed us to get through what was undoubtedly one of the toughest times the brewery has known. We’ve seen a record 2000% increase in online beer and lager sales since launching our new next-day home delivery service during lockdown.

“Our deliveries to pubs and restaurants started back up in July, but are on hold again in the central belt of Scotland until an expected reopening date of October 25th.

“Just as the Scottish on-trade was starting to recover though, these measures will be a devastating blow to both the local breweries and the pubs that they supply and partner with.

“All we can do at Harviestoun is continue to ramp up our online next day delivery service and hope that, for the sake of all our wonderful On Trade Licensees and customers that these measures do not extend past October 25th.

“There’s a balance there and those outside the central belt will still be open to a degree, albeit the weather will be a major factor.”

Outside of the central belt of Scotland, alcohol can only be served in outdoor areas until 10pm and Harviestoun will be able to deliver to pubs in areas not affected by the tighter restrictions.

Harviestoun has a growing reputation as a modern craft classic and is a pioneering producer of 10 high-quality craft beer and lagers. Its most famous award-winning beer, Schiehallion (pronounced she-hal-ion) pilsner, is named after a well-known mountain in Perthshire. Schiehallion is unique among British beers as being the only current brand to win the coveted ‘World’s Best Pilsner’ award.

People looking to order direct from Harviestoun, including the flagship Schiehallion lager or the iconic Bitter & Twisted, can visit https://harviestoun.com/shop for more details. People can also follow Harviestoun on social media, including Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HarviestounBrewery, Twitter https://twitter.com/HarviestounBrew and Instagram www.instagram.com/harviestounbrewery.

Ends 

 

Notes to editor

About Harviestoun Brewery

Based at Alva, near Stirling, Harviestoun is one of Scotland’s most awarded breweries and is a pioneering producer of nine high-quality craft beer and lagers, including its most famous award-winning beer, Schiehallion (pronounced she-hal-ion) pilsner, which is named after a well-known mountain in Perthshire:

  • 2 craft lagers – Forth (4%) & Schiehallion (4.8%)
  • 1 golden ale – Bitter & Twisted (4.2%)
  • 2 craft stouts – Old Engine Oil (6% or 4.5% on draught) and Engineers Reserve (9%)
  • 2 pale ales – The Ridge (5%) & Whippet (table beer – 2.3%)
  • 1 dark ale – Wheesht (0.0%). Scotland’s first alcohol-free dark ale
  • 1 barrel-aged stout – Ola Dubh (8%). Finished in ex-Highland Park whisky barrels for a minimum of 6 months. There are various age statements from the barrels – 12, 14, 16 , 18, 30 and 40 years old.

Harviestoun has been brewing in the shadow of the Ochil Hills in Clackmannanshire since 1983, so they were making craft beer in Scotland long before it became a popular trend. Still under independent ownership, it is one of Scotland’s most-awarded breweries and they consider themselves a modern craft classic.

Harviestoun’s beers are made with the soft local water and the majority of its barley is grown within eight miles of the brewery. The brewery remains steadfastly committed to the using the same local ingredients, the same yeast as they always have. They insist on the very best ingredients in their imaginative recipes which are crafted without compromise. All at Harviestoun respect and celebrate the provenance that they have inherited and are developing this special business with energy and imagination.

The Brewery is now owned by Sandy Orr and Donald MacDonald who in partnership with the Sharp family acquired Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh in 2008.  Having already been bought by Caledonian Brewery in 2006, Harviestoun was at the leading edge of the cask beer revolution in Scotland.  When Caledonian was subsequently sold to Scottish & Newcastle, Sandy and Donald were determined to keep Harviestoun out of the sale transaction believing that the quality and provenance of its beers in independent hands promised a fine future in the then growing market for premium flavoursome beers.  And so it has proved.

Under the same Chairmen it has had since 2008, Harviestoun is now led by Stuart Cook and Kevin Giudici as Joint Managing Directors.  The executive team in 2019 have led the business to re-brand, brought out new products that are already winning awards, as well as overhauling the sales and marketing division to establish a strong platform for growth in the future.

The independent brewery employs a close team of 22 people, including a female head brewer, which is quite unique for the brewing industry, as well as a Master Brewer with well over 20 years’ experience at the brewery. The Harviestoun Brewhouse rule is that no Harviestoun beer will leave the Brewery unless Stuart Cail (Master Brewer) or Amy Cockburn (Head Brewer) are delighted with its creation and consistency.


Press Release from Taste Communications on behalf of Harviestoun

For more information, contact jon@tastecommunications.co.uk

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