Major collaboration between Heriot-Watt and Innis & Gunn



Artist impression of new brewery

Scottish craft brewer Innis & Gunn has announced Heriot-Watt University - home to the world-renowned International Centre for Brewing & Distilling - as the location for the first major brewery to be built in Edinburgh for 150 years.

Built to meet demand for Innis & Gunn's award-winning beers, it is anticipated that up to 30 new jobs will be created, with Innis & Gunn's existing 45 office based team relocating from offices in Edinburgh's Randolph Crescent.

Heriot-Watt University's International Centre for Brewing & Distilling students will benefit from the brewery through opportunities gaining hands-on experience across all aspects of brewing operations in a large-scale production brewery. 

The tie-up is the UK's first major collaboration of this type between a full-scale brewery and a university and will create an epicentre for brewing studies and applied learning on the world stage.

The collaboration will be on a par with other famed brewery universities like Weinstephan in Germany, and Heriot-Watt and Innis & Gunn anticipate a wealth of benefits to arise as a result.

The brewer plans to build on a two hectare site at Riccarton which is planned to be operational in 2021.  The brewery is projected to cost around £20m, with a £15m loan also being progressed, subject to due diligence.

Prof Stephen McLaughlin, Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University said:

“Heriot-Watt has a long and distinguished history of excellence in research in Brewing and Distilling built on a foundation of collaboration with the Brewing and Distilling industries. The choice of Innis & Gunn to locate their new Brewery on our research park is an affirmation of our role in this vitally important Scottish industry. We look forward to welcoming them on to our research park and to successfully collaborating with them.”

As well as brewing Innis & Gunn's core range of Craft Lager-Beer, Original, Session IPA and other unique barrel-aged beers, it will house a high speed canning, bottling and kegging capability, streamlining several outsourced brewing and packaging sites in one location, reducing Innis & Gunn's carbon footprint.  It will also house a visitor centre and offer tours, a Tap Room will be added at a later date.

Innis & Gunn's Founder and Master Brewer, Dougal Gunn Sharp, said:

“Building this brewery is a big step for Innis & Gunn in delivering our ambitious growth plan, from which we can capitalise on the existing strong performance of our craft lager and portfolio of IPAs and barrel-aged beers.”

“We are creating an epicentre for brewing, collaboration and applied learning on the world stage. Innis & Gunn and Heriot-Watt University are both highly respected international brands renowned for their quality and forward thinking. This collaboration brings these two brands together in the most exciting way we can imagine.”

“Working with the International Centre of Brewing and Distilling opens up endless opportunities by combining our creative abilities and the talent pool at the university with our new world class, modern brewery. We hope to be able to research new beers and brewing techniques, develop pioneering carbon and water saving technologies and create new products that respond to changing demands from consumers, as well as facilitating in-work learning for students.”

“Edinburgh was in the past a centre of brewing renown, with over 40 breweries in the capital. We are especially proud to be part of the revitalisation of Edinburgh as a world centre for brewing. Having our brewery here, where we first brewed Innis & Gunn, completes the journey I started back in 2003.  Building it next to a centre of excellence for brewing and distilling talent makes absolute business sense; cementing a long-standing relationship with the University and enabling us to add on-campus practical experience for students.”

“It's a great location for a purpose-built facility that will be the beating heart of our business.  It will give us huge flexibility for our current and future needs, increasing our agility in the market and simplifying our existing brewing and logistics operations.”