Arran Brewery planned to create jobs

Arran Brewery planned to create jobs

A Scottish brewer has said the government's refusal to give him a GBP1m (US$1.52m) grant will damage the country's brewing industry.

Arran Brewery chief executive Gerald Michaluk said today (28 February) an appeal against the Scottish Government's decision has failed and he does not expect to receive any financial assistance. It dashes Michaluk's plans to match the GBP1m with private investor money and increase capacity in Arran by up to ten times.

Michaluk said the refusal is a blow for brewers like Arran who want to take locally-sourced beer into the international market. 

“We make beer where we say we make it,” Michaluk told just-drinks. “Consumers are becoming more educated about where beer comes from and soon they will realise that the brewery they think their beer is made at doesn't actually exist. That will hurt Scotland and hurt Scottish brewing.”

The decision also delays Arran's merger with fellow micro-brewer Isle of Skye Brewing Company, announced in November. Michaluk said the merger, along with Arran's increased capacity would have allowed his company to produce more beer without making a loss, as well as create jobs on Arran.

He said: “How they cannot see that this is good for Scotland and how it is money well spent, I cannot fathom.”

The Food Processing, Marketing & Co-operation grant was only opened up to drinks companies last year. The Kingsbarns distillery in Fife was one of the first to secure a payment under the scheme, helping it to attract investment from Wemyss Malts in January.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: "The grant scheme is competitive and cash-limited and it is therefore inevitable that not all applications can be successful."

Michaluk said that he still plans to expand his business. “It'll just take me longer and be a bit more painful,” he said.