Innis & Gunn Submits Planning Application for new Edinburgh Brewery at Heriot-Watt University



Scottish craft brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn submitted an application for planning permission for its major new brewery at Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park to the west of Edinburgh.

When completed the Heriot-Watt University site will be the first major brewery to be opened in Edinburgh for 150 years.

The partnership is the UK’s first major collaboration of this type between a full-scale brewery and a university and will create a world-centre for brewing studies and applied learning. Built to meet demand for Innis & Gunn’s award-winning beers, the project will create up to 30 new jobs and see the brand’s 45 office-based staff relocate from its head office in Edinburgh’s Randolph Crescent.

As well as brewing Innis & Gunn’s flagship Lager Beer and The Original, the brewery will include a high-speed canning and bottling line and will enable the company to consolidate all currently outsourced production under one roof. By installing modern equipment and technology the project will reduce Innis & Gunn’s carbon footprint by up to 30%.

Innis & Gunn’s Founder and Master Brewer, Dougal Gunn Sharp, said: “I am excited that today we submit our planning application. This means that the project now enters a statutory phase during which our application will be considered by the local authorities in Edinburgh. In normal times we would expect this process to take three or four months. However, because of the COVID-19 situation we are not able to say how long this stage might take.

“This natural pause in the project comes at a helpful time. Right now our priorities remain the welfare of our staff and ensuring the continuing supply of Innis & Gunn beers to our key customers in the UK and overseas, where we have seen surging demand since the start of this crisis. We have taken various steps to meet this demand including launching a ‘Quick & Cold’ beer delivery service on-line, which will get ice cold beer to your home within 24 hours of ordering. We are currently trialling this across Glasgow and Edinburgh but this will be expanded in the coming days to include more postcodes once we are certain that service levels can be met.

“Building our own brewery will bring a raft of benefits to the business. It will allow us to take control of our currently outsourced operations, expand our team and grow our production to meet the needs of our customers. On top of that, the Heriot-Watt partnership means their International Centre for Brewing & Distilling students will gain hands-on experience across all aspects of brewing operations in a large-scale production brewery.”

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 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 that led to the formation of our International Centre for Brewing and Distilling. 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.

For more information please visit the Innis & Gunn Website or social media channels.