Angus Ales brings micro-brewing to the land of golf
The first small-scale brewery in the area for 50 years won't be the last
Angus' own micro-brewery finds plenty of inspiration in the area's championship golf courses, as Dave Pollock discovers
When Alan Lawson established Angus Ales in 2009, there had been no brewery in the county of Angus for half a century, he says. ‘It wasn’t the greatest real ale place,’ he laughs. ‘I was doing missionary work to a certain extent at first, but it’s getting more well-known now. People even come and visit us here.’
Lawson is a long-time real ale enthusiast and home brewer. His four-barrel brewery is very much a local business, with the vast bulk of stock going to pubs and outlets within forty miles of his base in Carnoustie.
Operating out of an industrial unit in the town, Lawson makes use of the area’s rich golfing history in the branding of his ales. ‘One is called Mashie Niblick,’ he says, ‘a Mashie Niblick being a type of golf club from the days when they had names rather than boring numbers – about a seven iron in today’s money. It’s a malty ale with a lot of toasted barley in it, of a more traditional Scottish style. We have another brown beer called Birdie 3, which is more hoppy, a gold beer called Gowfer’s Gold – everybody has to have a gold beer these days – and a dark beer called Driver Dark, which uses roasted barley and chocolate malt. They all improve your game, by the way.’
Although he sells some bottled beers via wholesalers, Lawson’s belief is that the number of small craft brewers springing up in Scotland is putting pressure on an already crowded market. As if to prove the point, 2012 sees the arrival of start-up MòR, a new micro-brewery based in Kellas just outside Dundee.
There’s a lot of potential in the local constituency, however, and Lawson believes that the daily business of building good relationships with and offering quality service to publicans is key to success at this level.