Cairngorm Brewery based in Scotland's iconic national park

A brewery with a harmonious sense of balance

Mountain Brew

Being part of such a dramatic and important landscape brings responsibilities as well as rewards. David Pollock meets a brewery with a harmonious sense of balance

When you’re based in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park you can’t really be anything but conscious of the environment around you, and much of the ethos of Cairngorm Brewery is focused upon their habitat. ‘Because we’re based in the National Park we’re lucky in that our brand imagery can use the species of animals that are found in the area,’ says managing director Samantha Faircliff. ‘Things like the wildcat on Wildcat, we use a female ptarmigan as the image on White Lady, a golden eagle on Cairngorm Gold.’

Established in 2001, the brewery has since won a clutch of high-profile awards from organisations including CAMRA for beers such as Trade Winds, which Faircliff describes as a refreshing, light, contemporary-style beer with elderflower added. ‘We have beers that range from a dark stout to a light continental style beer that’s the nearest thing we have to lager,’ she says, ‘and we have every colour and flavour in between. We’re trying to go for as many palates as possible.’

With a shop and touring facilities on the premises, though, their location is an important part of their unique selling point, a fact they’re well aware of. They’re aiming for a zero waste to landfill business, with spent grain sent to feed local cattle and yeast slurry going to a pig farm. ‘We’re also launching a new beer called Caillie,’ says Faircliff, ‘which has the image of a capercaillie, and we’ll donate 15p of every bottle sold to environmental projects and habitat restoration in the Cairngorms National Park. We have a lot of visitors who come to see us because of where we are, and taking care of our area just fits in with what we do.’

Cairngorm Brewery

Dalfaber Industrial Estate, Aviemore, Highland, PH22  1ST

Established in 2001, the compact Cairngorms Brewery has built a far-reaching reputation as one of Scotland’s better craft breweries. With only fifteen staff it’s recently upgraded to a twenty-barrel system to cope with demand for its range of eight…


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