Craft beer focus | Scottish Licensed Trade News

Scottish Licensed Trade News

Craft beer focus

The popularity of small batch brews seems to show little sign of waning. But which craft beers are expected to sell well this summer? And what do licensees look for in a small batch brew? Three bar operators told SLTN about their approach to craft beer.

James Stuart-Gammie, operations manager, Fuller Thomson, Edinburgh

Fuller Thomson venue Red Squirrel.

Fuller Thomson venue Red Squirrel.

What is currently the most popular craft or cask beer in your
outlet?

Tempest – Long White Cloud, one of my own default go-to beers.

Which is your personal favourite craft or cask beer and why?

At the moment it is Fallen Platform C. Fallen are producing some of the best beers in Scotland at the moment and I love a bit of Citra.

Where do you source your craft and/or cask beers?

Where possible direct from the brewers to get it as fresh as possible, or to whoever can provide us with the beer we are looking for.

Do you find there is greater demand for certain styles of beer over the summer months?

Pale ales and IPAs are really popular then but are very popular all year round. All the lighter styles, blondes, Pilsners, wheat beers, etc. are all popular too during the summer months. We also see a keen interest in craft ciders as well.

What do you look for in a new craft beer before you decide to stock it?

Three things which we look for and deem most important are: quality, quality and quality; we are not overly concerned with who makes it, whether it is cask or keg, it is all about the overall quality of the beer.


Jim Anderson, co-owner, The Anderson, Fortrose

Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson, co-owner of The Anderson

What is currently the most popular craft or cask beer in your outlet?

Craft and cask are two very different things at The Anderson, perhaps defined by their customers rather than by the beers themselves. Cromarty Hit the Lip and Highland Pale Ale do very well in cask, whilst our range of Belgians does well in keg and bottle.

Which is your personal favourite craft or cask beer and why?

I think if I had a favourite we’d carry just that one beer. Hey, maybe I’m on to something here!

Where do you source your craft and/or cask beers?

Variously from the breweries themselves, large brewery distributors or any number of small, ‘boutique’ beer distributors that are beginning to crop up. No one source has everything we want.

Do you find there is greater demand for certain styles of beer over the summer months?

As the days get lighter so does the beer.

What do you look for in a new craft beer before you decide to stock it?

Is it well brewed? Can I make any money on it? Can I sell it while it’s at its peak? Does the guy down the street stock it? Does it enhance our current offering in any way?


Max Barrie, general manager, VDeep, Leith

VDeep general manager Max Barrie.  Image Credit: Paul Johnston at Copper Mango

VDeep general manager Max Barrie.

Image Credit: Paul Johnston at Copper Mango

What is currently the most popular craft or cask beer in your outlet?

Our Vindabrew – created specially by the VDeep team at Drygate – is our most popular craft beer. It’s one of our house taps and will shortly be moving into tins. It’s a cardamom-infused IPA and is brewed for eating with curry. Vindabrew can cut through spice but is also versatile enough to enjoy with a dessert.

Which is your personal favourite craft or cask beer and why?

At the moment, it’s got to be Drygate’s Outaspace Apple Ale. I like it because it does what it says – incredibly appley and sweet. It’s a nice introduction to summer and pairs well with my favourite curry –the Buttered Shellfish – which ranges from lobsters to cockles.

Where do you source your craft  and/or cask beers?

We source directly from breweries where we can because we like to form partnerships with our suppliers and frequently hold tap takeovers. We also use craft beer specialist distributors like New Wave.

Do you find there is greater demand for certain styles of beer over the summer months?

Refreshing pale ales and lagers are popular in the summer months. We also notice an uptick in citrusy, fruity beers and those with a slightly lower ABV as people indulge in a little session drinking in the sun.

What do you look for in a new craft beer before you decide to stock it?

People eat with their eyes first so we gravitate towards cans, bottles and taps with cracking designs. Williams Bros and Beerd’s collaboration beer Gunslinger has been flying off the taps thanks to its striking badge and an incredible taste to back it up. Beavertown and Hells are some of our go-to canned beers which also look amazing.

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