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Number of breweries in Scotland rises by 229% in 8 years

A new report published by The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) has found that the number of breweries in Scotland has risen by 229% in 8 years to hit 115, while there are now over 60 distilleries in the country producing gin.

Source: SPICE

A study exploring the state of the brewing and distilling industry in Scotland has found significant growth in both sectors.

With Scotland’s brewing industry having declined from 280 breweries in 1840 down to just 11 by 1970, the past eight years in particular have seen a marked rise in brewing enterprises.

With 115 breweries (a rise of 229% in eight years) 16 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities now have a brewery, with Edinburgh and Highland authorities areas being brewing hotspots. The growth has been largely driven by small-scale microbreweries, which represent 83% of the Scottish brewing industry.

SPICE’s report found that while the majority of growth in distilleries has taken place in English driven by gin and new whisky distilleries, Scotland is still ahead in terms of revenue share and employment size-band.

Many of the large Scottish distilling businesses produce multiple different brands at different sites, therefore there is significant difference in the figures for companies compared to that of local distilling operations.

Source: SPICE

The report found that in 2018, Scotland has 245 local distilling units, up by 69% since 2018, while 22 out of a total of 32 local authorities have a distilling presence. Furthermore, nine in 10 British distilling jobs are based in Scotland.

Scotland is home to three of the world’s best-selling gin brands (Hendrick’s, Gordon’s and Tanqueray) while many of its whisky distillers (both new and old) are turning to gin to give them a quicker return. With over 110 Scottish gins made at over 60 distilleries, it is estimated that between 70 and 80% of the gin produced in the UK comes from Scotland.
The country’s national drink, whisky, accounts for 20% of all UK food and drink exports, according to the report, with its total export value hitting £4.37 billion in 2017. There are a total of 128 malt and grain distilleries in Scotland.

The report also noted Scotland’s barley production, with figures from the Scottish National Farmers Union stating that 28% of the UK’s barley area is in Scotland.

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