Brewing up a crafty boost to tourism

Jo Stewart, co-founder and owner of Stewart Brewing, pours a glass of Spirit of Scotland pale ale
Jo Stewart, co-founder and owner of Stewart Brewing, pours a glass of Spirit of Scotland pale ale

Loanhead’s Stewart Brewing and VisitScotland have launched a new craft beer as the potential of the industry to tourism was revealed.

The Spirit of Scotland craft beer marks the release of new research by the national tourism organisation. VisitScotland’s report reveals that the craft beer industry has the potential to capitalise on the food and drink tourism market, worth nearly £900 million a year to Scotland’s visitor economy.

The new research conducted in partnership with The Brewers Association of Scotland, highlights the potential craft beer has in enhancing the Scottish tourism experience.

The Spirit of Scotland craft beer, a hoppy summer pale ale, was brewed in Loanhead-based Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen to mark the release of the research and celebrates the craft beer industry’s #ScotSpirit.

Jo Stewart, co-founder and owner of Stewart Brewing spoke about last week’s launch of the new craft beer.

She said: “We were delighted to work with VisitScotland on the Spirit of Scotland craft beer, which is a great way to mark the launch of an important piece of research for our industry.

“We started our brewery in 2004 with the goal of producing the best beer we can to supply to our local Edinburgh pubs. So marketing and selling locally has always been at the core of what we are about.

“We now supply over 500 outlets and work closely with many restaurants and bistros, as having a local beer on the menu always adds value and attracts tourists.”

A UK first, Stewart Brewing’s brew-it-yourself facility in Loanhead has produced over 5,000 different beers since opening in 2013.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“The rapid growth of Scotland’s exciting craft beer industry in recent years and the popularity of sampling local produce by visitors, creates a fantastic opportunity to ‘tap’ into a new market of ‘craft beer tourism’.

“It is clear to see from the research that there is real interest Scottish craft beer from across the globe, leaving the industry well placed to follow the likes of the whisky industry and other Scottish produce in becoming a real draw for visitors near and far.”

Consumer trends, identified by VisitScotland, such as authenticity, millennial markets, and provenance were also found to be mirrored in the craft beer industry.

These trends, which are already affecting consumer behaviour, leave craft beer tourism perfectly placed to capitalise on the current interest in the food and drink sector.