Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
Not open to the public.
Innis & Gunn came about by a now-famous happy accident. What is now known as oak-aged beer would never have existed but for William Grant & Sons’ desire to have an ale-finished whisky. Brewer Dougal Sharp duly created a beer which sat in the casks for a while and then (somewhat inexplicably) was thrown away. Eventually someone decided to taste this liquid and realised it should probably be poured into bottles rather than down the drain and lo, in 2003 Innis & Gunn Original was born, now with a very specific 77 day cask maturation. Initially set up in part ownership with William Grant, Sharp bought them out in 2008 to bring the company back under family ownership.
Don't go searching for tours of the Innis & Gunn brewery; historically they have brewed under contract. The range now extends to a 6% Blonde, a 7.4% Rum Finish and lots of limited editions like the Spiced Rum Finish (6.9%); Winter Beer 2011 (7.4%) and Irish Whiskey Cask (7.4%). You may have noticed that those percentages are rather higher than your average session ale, and this might be part of the thinking behind Melville’s Craft Lager, a total departure from all that came before in most ways: branding, maturation, target market, but particularly those ABVs. The summery new fruit lagers – not beers, note – are British, rather than Scottish branded, and come in at 4.1%. They are made with 20% fresh cold-pressed juice, either strawberry or raspberry. In the wake of this launch, an Innis & Gunn branded lager was released, the Helles-style Lager Beer.
Reviews & features
Scotland celebrates a thriving brewing industry17 Sep 2010
Caledonian, Brewdog and more are holding their own on the world stage
High-quality water, historic recipes and a growing number of microbreweries means that Scotland is producing beers to rival those produced on the Continent, writes David Pollock.