Belhaven Black: new wind in the sails of Scotland’s number one stout

Belhaven, Scotland’s oldest working brewery, has unveiled a ‘dramatic new look’ for its top-selling Scottish stout, Belhaven Black.

The brewery, fresh from the successful relaunch of Belhaven Best, has reported an ‘incredible surge in interest’ in Belhaven Black, particularly from younger customers, a trend which has encouraged the company to shine a new light on the history – and future potential – of its ‘distinctively different’ stout.

Fittingly, this new look is being debuted at that fevered intersection of cultural tradition and innovation, the Edinburgh Fringe, where the Dunbar-based brewery is the official 2023 beer sponsor, serving up its full range at The Belhaven Bar on the Mound, in a prime spot next to the National Gallery of Scotland and Princes Street Gardens, for the duration.

Stout is currently the fastest growing category in beer, with volume growth of 20.4%. But Belhaven Black is already running well ahead of that category trend, reporting no less than 88.8% volume growth.

Belhaven brand manager, Fiona Matheson, said: “Fresh from our re-brand of Belhaven Best a few months ago, this is another huge milestone for our brewery, and a sign of the ambition we have for our much-loved Scottish stout, Belhaven Black.

“We’ve been producing stout here in Dunbar since the mid-1800s, but there has been an incredible surge in interest in recent years, particularly amongst younger drinkers who are looking for character and flavour from their beer – both of which Belhaven Black delivers brilliantly.

“We’re also seeing rapid growth for Belhaven Black south of the border, so we believe that this striking new look will only add to the wind that is currently in the sails of Scotland’s number one Scottish stout!” said Ms Matheson.

Belhaven Black’s new identity has been created in partnership with the specialist Scottish drinks agency Thirst and, like the Belhaven Best redesign, takes inspiration from over 300 years of brewing at Belhaven. It features swirls bursting from the brewery’s iconic malting chimneys – a feature since 1719 –reflecting the ‘depth and drama’ of the 4.2% beer when it’s poured into the glass.

Executive creative director of Thirst Craft, Matt Burns, said: “Thirst have been enormously proud to partner with Belhaven Brewery, a heritage brand with real heart and soul to go along with their centuries of brewing prowess.

“Having created a new design for Belhaven Best that truly brings out the best in the brand, we were thrilled to extend the refresh to Belhaven Black with a new identity that builds upon Belhaven’s unique story and the exceptional quality of the liquid. To showcase this for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe, where Scotland’s vibrancy and creativity are on show for the world to see, is a fantastic opportunity.”

From August, Belhaven Black’s new look will feature on glassware, tap handles, fonts and a wide range of materials in bars around Scotland.

Ms Matheson added: “The opportunity to unveil this new design along with the recently refreshed Belhaven Best, and many of our other award-winning beers, during the Edinburgh Fringe is another huge moment for the Belhaven team.

“We’ve been brewing beer for over 300 years just down the coast from the festival city, so to have such a prominent presence right in the heart of the action this year is a real thrill. We can’t wait to play our part in one of the world’s greatest cultural celebrations and to refresh thousands of Fringe fans throughout August.”

Belhaven’s Bar on the Mound at the Edinburgh Festival (Pic: Luke Moodley)

In addition to the Belhaven Bar on the Mound, Fringe drinkers can enjoy a special Belhaven walking tour in partnership with Exploring Edinburgh, which provides a map of pubs around the city where they can enjoy a pint from Scotland’s historic brewery.

To download a copy of the Belhaven Edinburgh Fringe walking tour go to