Skye brewery to expand Uig base thanks to HIE grant

A Skye brewery which is experiencing a growing demand for its award-winning beers is to expand into new markets around the world, thanks to a grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The £450,000 development by the Isle of Skye Brewing Company is at the firm’s site in Uig. The company is expanding the production capacity of its existing brewery where 12 staff are currently employed. This is the first phase of a long-term develop­ment plan, with this initial expansion expected to create a further five jobs.

As the customer base continues to grow, the company has established a distribution centre in the central belt and recruited two business develop­ment managers to lead growth of the brewery’s customer base at home and abroad.

The brewery has also begun rebranding, with Red Cuillin becom­ing Skye Red, Black Cuillin now Skye Black and Hebridean Gold marketed as Skye Gold. The original product has been retained to keep its taste and quality but it is believed the rebrand has made it more attractive to modern drinkers.

HIE is supporting the project with a £116,000 grant for this first phase of a long-term development for the company in Uig.

Managing director Kenny Webster said: “There is so much more potential to grow the business both at home and internationally and we would like to introduce new kegged products. We are delighted with HIE’s investment as this will allow us to increase production, support our rebranding and establish new national and overseas markets.

“To accommodate the increase in production, a new building is required to house the existing storage to free up room within the current brewery building for new tanks. The developments will enable us to double our number of staff by next year and it will also triple our turnover in the next three years.”

The brewery was established with support from HIE in 1998 by founder Angus MacRuary although Kenny Webster is now the main operator and majority shareholder. Mr MacRuary’s extensive knowledge and expertise have not been lost as he is the operations director.

Pam MacRuary and Kenny Webster are pictured earlier this year