The plan followed a year-long study into the challenges of growing the sector, led by the newly created Brewing Industry Leadership Group, with the outcomes published in a new report titled Brewing Up a Storm.
SFD chair Hilary Jones commented: “Even though we have an unrivalled track record producing great beer and centuries of history behind us, the rising popularity of global craft beer means that Scotland needs to sharpen its game if it is to remain an international leader.
‘Reputation for brewing quality’
“Scotland has a precious reputation for brewing quality and there are many opportunities for future growth, but we need a new national and unified approach, which maximises potential and drives quality.”
The report detailed 16 recommendations that will be implemented to achieve SFD’s goal of a £1bn brewery industry. This included the promotion of brewing as a career of choice, with multiple entry points, and filling current and future skills gaps, as well as upskilling the industry. A full list can be found in the box below.
“The strategy launched today brings a collaborative approach between over a dozen agencies to tackle several challenges, including infrastructure, tax, marketing, exporting and the availability of a ready-skilled group of people who see brewing as a desirable career of choice,” Jones added.
‘Perceived value of our beer’
“We want to increase the perceived value of our beer by focusing on craftsmanship and quality. We want consumers to buy Scottish beer, rather than imported beer and to drink beer responsibly.”
A recent study released by the Scottish Parliament into brewing and distilling found that while global beer consumption has been falling, the number of start-up breweries has increased, with a focus on high-quality specialist beers.
It also found that most of the growth has been in the microbrewery market, which now represents 83% of Scotland’s brewing base. Scotland has more than 130 operating breweries that support 8,000 jobs.
SFD’s recommendations to build Scottish brewing
- Set up an Industry Leadership Group to drive progress and ambitions
- Create an information hub to put every brewing business in the loop
- Promote brewing as a career with prospects and have multiple entry points
- Fill current and future skills gaps and upskill the industry
- Strengthen management and financial skills in the industry
- Improve collaboration end-to-end and between producers
- Promote projects to optimise resource efficiency and use of co-products
- Improve keg management to reduce costs and increase resource efficiency
- Review the technical dispensing system and infrastructure
- Back the brewing sector with innovation support and relevant research and development
- Use research to help Scottish brewers differentiate their beer and compete globally
- Share and feed into research to ensure the security of raw materials
- Build the reputation and hone the unique selling propositions of Scottish beer
- Help Scottish brewers reach new markets, customers and consumers
- Influence public and stakeholder perceptions of Scottish beer
- Develop policy and regulation that make Scotland a great place to brew and buy beer