Brewery offers shares in Falkirk distillery

Rosebank distillery on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk
Rosebank distillery on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk

Brewery bosses hope real ale lovers will raise more than a glass to back their expansion plans.

Arran Brewery has launched a share offer in a bid to increase its operations, including setting up a new production base in the former Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk.

It hopes to raise £4 million by crowdfunding - asking people to buy £80 shares in the business in return for an investment, plus a series of perks, including discounts on products and the chance to be trained in beer tasting.

Yesterday (Wednesday), managing director Gerald Michaluk explained that despite securing £500,000 in grants from the Scottish Government, there was still a £1.5 million shortfall needed to take the project forward.

He said: “If we are successful with our crowdfunding initiative, it will then it will all boil down to getting planning permission.

“We are currently involved in lengthy discussions with Falkirk Council which are centred on them classing this as an abandoned site.

“It has taken over a year so far and therefore we have had to divert funding elsewhere in the meantime. But we hope that we can raise money to take forward our plans for the Forth and Clyde Brewery.”

The company wants to use cash raised to upgrade its brewery on Arran, develop two new breweries on the mainland, a brewing school and open a distillery.

Mr Michaluk said it wants people to “be part of the craft brewing revolution” and the company was keen to attract as many individual investors as possible.

He added: “This is all about how much money we can raise and it’s all about how we do it to benefit the people we serve. If they become shareholders, it gives us a very loyal customer base who would want to see our beer served in the places they drink.”

The iconic Rosebank Distillery – once considered one of the top 10 in the world – has been lying empty since 1993, five years after its bond across the road was sold to the Beefeater pub chain.

In 2002 owners Diageo sold the site to British Waterways and, if Arran Brewery gets planning permission, it will turn it into a micro brewing and bottling plant.

Plans also include a visitor’s centre which would be an additional attraction for the area and provide the tourist venue canal chiefs have always wanted at that spot.