Bellfield Brewery plans expansion with tap room for beer tourists

Kieran Middleton, Bellfield Brewery Head of Brewing and Business Development
Kieran Middleton, Bellfield Brewery Head of Brewing and Business Development

A Scottish microbrewery is planning to open a visitor centre in the Abbeyhill area of Edinburgh.

Bellfield Brewery – which brews exclusively gluten-free and vegan beers – hopes to open the visitor centre this summer adjacent to its brew house.

The visitor centre and tap room is part of an ambitious expansion plan funded by a recent raise of £0.6m via Equity Gap, the angel investment syndicate.

Bellfield hopes that the visitor centre will attract people to enjoy its award winning beer, on site, just metres from where it is brewed.  Tours, for locals and visitors alike will give beer enthusiasts an insight into the brewing process, specifically the requirements of gluten free and vegan beer production.

The visitor centre which is a short walk or cycle ride from the city centre, will include a tasting and tap room where local people and visitors to the City can drop in for a brewery tour and a fresh beer, brewed on a recently installed, 2,000 litre brew plant.

Bellfield also hopes to promote the tap room as an unusual venue for meetings, away days, special events and performances.

The tap room plan comes at a busy time for the fast-growing brewery which has also just strengthened its team with three new hires.

In a boost to Bellfield’s sales and marketing capability, Elliott Lamb has joined as UK Sales Manager, with a focus to grow the brewery’s sales in the UK. He oversees the brewery’s sales and marketing team and has already secured several, significant new listings for Bellfield in Scotland and beyond.

Graeme McKinnon, Bellfield’s new Assistant Brewer, will manage all the on-site brewing. He recently completed an MSc at Heriot-Watt University’s renowned Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

Derek Brown has been appointed on a six month consultancy, to secure more listings for cask and keg for the brewery, within the on-trade across Central Scotland.

Speaking about the brewery’s plans, Alistair Brown, MD, Bellfield Brewery said the company was experiencing strong demand for its products thanks to sustained growth in the craft beer sector and the explosive growth in demand for ‘free-from’ products in UK. He said, “Many microbreweries like ourselves – such as Campervan in Edinburgh – now have tap rooms where visitors can enjoy a beer that’s super fresh, brewed on site. We know from experience that having our own Tap Room is a critical next step for us, to help us to sustain and indeed, increase, the number of jobs we have created.”

The tap room plan is subject to licensing approval and will be considered by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Licensing Board at their meeting on 29 April 2019.

The recent raise of £0.6m via the Scottish Angel syndicate, Equity Gap – with support from the Scottish Investment Bank – was completed at the start of April. Jo Nisbet, Partner at Harper Macleod and the corporate finance team at Henderson Loggie, overseen by Rod Mathers, acted as Bellfield’s advisors.

Over the last 12 months, Bellfield has exported its beer to the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malta, UAE and Switzerland and the company has active tenders for sales in Sweden and Finland.

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