Craft brewers in bottling alliance

Deal with Highland beer firm brings boost for Shetland business

• Lerwick Brewery co-founder and distribution manager Graham Mercer.
• Lerwick Brewery co-founder and distribution manager Graham Mercer.

SHETLAND-based Lerwick Brewery has signed a bottling deal with Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore which it said will “drastically” increase production of its 60° North and Skipper’s Ticket beers.

Under the deal, which is expected to be worth £250,000 to Lerwick this year, the Shetland firm will use Cairngorm’s contract bottling service.
Lerwick Brewery expects to send 16,000 litres of beer to Aviemore every quarter, in consignments of 1000-litre iso-bulk containers.
The beer will then be bottled in 330ml bottles for distribution across the UK.
The Cairngorm facility is said to have a production capacity of 20,000 bottles per day – a tenfold increase on Lerwick Brewery’s in-house bottling capacity.
John Mercer, marketing manager and co-founder of Lerwick Brewery, said the deal will allow the brewer to increase the amount of beer it bottles in an hour by 700%.
“So far, the only drawback of our beers’ popularity has been that demand is already exceeding the capacity of our in-house bottling plant,” said Mercer.
“All our beer will be developed and made on Shetland – but this deal enables us to get it packaged and send it across the UK at a much faster rate than we could do previously.
“We will continue to use our own bottling plant alongside Cairngorm’s facility to ensure we continue to meet demand as fast as we can.”
Lerwick Brewery distribution manager Graham Mercer added that in addition to meeting demand, the new partnership would allow the brewer to learn from the team at Cairngorm’s “wealth of experience”.
“We have already learned some helpful hints that we can use to make our production techniques in our own brewery more efficient,” he said.
“That, coupled with an inviting gift shop and entertaining and insightful brewery tours, make Cairngorm an example of what we would like to become.”
Cairngorm Brewery MD Sam Faircliff said the firm is “delighted” to be working with the Lerwick Brewery.
“Meeting demand for products as quickly and efficiently as possible is a really key part of making a successful beer business,” said Faircliff.
Lerwick Brewery now plans to expand its Shetland plant to accommodate more brewing and a kegging hall.