Island eatery is best for beer

Restaurant on Tiree takes top UK-wide award from SIBA

Ceabhar co-owner Duncan Castling brews his own ales for customers
Ceabhar co-owner Duncan Castling brews his own ales for customers

By Jonathan Watt

A REMOTE Scottish restaurant with an adjoining microbrewery has been named the Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant at the Society of Independent Brewer’s (SIBA) annual Business Awards.

The 30-cover Ceabhar restaurant in Sandaig on the Isle of Tiree, which is run by couple Duncan Castling and Polly Kellet, beat competition that included fellow Scottish finalist the Scran & Scallie in Edinburgh to take the award.

“When we saw who the other finalists were we thought we never had a chance,” Duncan told SLTN.

“We just thought the competition was too strong.  I was completely blown away when our name was read out.”

Duncan credited a strong focus on local produce and environmental issues as key to the award success.

He said: “We try to source as much local food as we can, we use crab and lobster caught by local fishermen and it helps lower our carbon footprint.

“The development of our Bun Dubh microbrewery was part of that too, as we wanted to stop bringing so much plastic and glass to Tiree, which wastes a huge amount of energy.”

With the couple’s first SIBA award in the bag, Duncan said he is targeting more in the future for his range of ales. Bun Dubh brewery currently produces four cask ales, including Sandancer – a 4.6% ABV blonde cream IPA; and there are more in the pipeline.

“I want to expand our brewing, I know what the best beers taste like so I’m going to keep tweaking my brews and hopefully one day I can get an award for the beers too,” he said.

In addition to the Business Awards, SIBA’s BeerX event saw the organisation present its Independent Beer Awards.

The awards saw several Scottish breweries pick up trophies, including Orkney Brewery and Stewart Brewing, which both took gold awards.

Loch Lomond Brewery, Knops Beer Company, Harviestoun and Merchant City Brewing were all presented with silver awards.