Lanarkshire brewers making their mark on the Scottish craft beer scene

Lanarkshire Brewers

Craig Lawman, Lawman Brewing Company

Two breweries in Cumbernauld, Lawman and Out of Town, are making a name for themselves

The interest in craft beer has continued to swell at an impressive rate all over Scotland, to the extent that even the smallest supermarkets now have a couple of hoppy pale ales and some local bottles on their shelves. The proliferation of breweries continues too, with nearly 100 across the country. And in Cumbernauld, a pair of producers are staking their claim in that burgeoning market.

First came Lawman Brewing Company, so named because brewer Craig Laurie is a qualified lawyer. He never practised though. Or even studied much. 'During my final year in 2013, when I was supposed to be writing my dissertation, I was spending far more time reading about home brewing!' admits Craig. It became a source of income far preferable to any return to the legal profession. 'I just enjoyed making beer that I would like to drink,' he continues, a strikingly simple explanation that speaks to the basic ethos of many start-up brewers.

Of course, success rests on others wanting to drink it too. Enter Paul McDonagh, landlord of Glasgow pub The Bon Accord, and now you'll always find at least one of Lawman's core of eight beers on cask there. Next step? The full range in 330ml bottles, with both Scottish and Swedish distribution lined up.

You could say that Out of Town Brewing's James Morton wrote the book on homebrewing, having published a manual on the subject several years ago. He and fellow homebrewers Richard O'Brien and Owen Sheerins went out on their own in 2016, despite still maintaining their day jobs. 'I wouldn't say it was part time!' protests O'Brien, given they commit 30 hours a week to the brewery. 'More like a very expensive hobby. Though we turn a good profit, it's all going straight back into the business stage.'

It's admirable stuff – with no capital investment and equipment sourced from old jam storage tanks, pub beer chillers and Italian olive oil pots, they've gained a foothold in Glasgow, with beers like Blood Orange Milkshake IPA and North East Coast IPA showing an awareness of the ever-changing styles and trends of the market.

Both breweries try and attend as many beer festivals across the country as possible – an invaluable way of reaching a large part of their market in a short period of time. In fact, be it speciality shops, bars, or wider beer gatherings, both Lawman and Out of Town are appearing on many a radar.

Lawman Brewing Company

31 Kelvin Road North, Cumbernald, North Lanarkshire, G67 2BD

A microbrewery set up by law graduate Craig Laurie which moved from a flat to a five barrel unit in Cumbernauld in 2015. Found at festivals and as guest ales in Edinburgh and Glasgow bars.