Anyone who loves beer has surely heard of Innis & Gunn, one of the UK’s largest craft breweries and an amazing brand. However, did you know that it all came about accidentally?
Back in 2002, a famous whisky distiller approached Dougal Sharp, now CEO of the company, as they wanted to season some of their oak casks with a sweet, malty beer. A special brew was made for the project and everything went ahead. Thirty days passed and the beer was thrown out, to be replaced by the whisky. Everything went according to plan, and once the whisky had matured it was met with great approval.
However, rather than discarding all of the beer, someone had given it a cheeky sample. Though it had the sole purpose of adding character to the cask, it turned out to be a two-way process, with the oak very much adding new qualities to the brew. Whilst the whisky distiller continued this practice, the newly founded Innis & Gunn started a whole line of oak-aged beers, which would never have happened without collaboration and curiosity.
Fast-forward to today and this ethos is still very much around. 1st November 2016 saw the launch of AdventureCapital, the brewery’s first equity crowdfunding project. Offering the public an opportunity to be part of the story, the aim was to raise £1million to accelerate progression. Before the month was out, they had achieved a whopping £2.4million, which clearly shows the belief that craft beer drinkers have in the company. The money raised through selling these shares will also be used to enable other goals, including the tripling of production over the next three years, and expansion plans at its recently acquired Inveralmond Brewery in Perth.
Perhaps even more exciting is the news of a Beer Kitchen that Innis & Gunn will open in England in 2017, which is a full year ahead of their original forecast. With Beer Kitchens already in Edinburgh, Dundee and St Andrews, an additional three will also open in Scotland over the next year. The brand will extend its global reach too by creating a Beer Kitchen in Canada, adding to its international reputation achieved by 23 million bottles of beer exported to 25 countries in 2015.
To the team here at MD Engineering, this really is music to our ears. Yes, we absolutely love Innis & Gunn and very much enjoy their brews, but it’s so much more than that. Dougal Sharp joined his father’s brewery in 1987 and became Master Brewer in 1995. A few years later something is invented by mistake, and from there a craft revolution has taken hold of beer lovers everywhere. Innis & Gunn is a truly amazing tale of how passion for quality, integrity and character can develop into something that inspires and motivates the world.