Sinclair Breweries, of Orkney, aims to create about five new jobs through a £300,000 investment in new facilities.
The expansion already under way at its Orkney Brewery in Sandwick is also expected to boost the company’s green credentials.
Sinclair Breweries is extending the kitchen in the visitor centre, installing an on-site kegging plant and setting up an improved temperature control system.
A contribution of up to £99,000 has been secured from economic development quango Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Expansion of the visitor centre will enable us to cater for the higher demand and also allow us to cater for larger groups and meetings.”
Norman Sinclair, Sinclair Breweries.
The company currently sends bulk beer to England for kegging. The proposed new on-site kegging plant will be more efficient and environmentally friendly for the business, achieving savings in transport and packaging.
At the same time, it will offer a greater variety of beers to be supplied in kegs – which have a longer shelf-life than casks.
Sinclair Breweries exports into European countries as well as the US, which is its most important overseas market.
Its latest investment will allow it to offer kegged beers to export markets for the first time.
North tourism on the up
Owner Norman Sinclair said: “I am delighted that HIE is assisting us with these projects after a difficult 18 months.
“The north has seen an upsurge in visitors this year and is predicted to continue next year.
“Expansion of the visitor centre will enable us to cater for the higher demand and also allow us to cater for larger groups and meetings.”
Lower carbon ambitions
He added: “We are very aware of our need to reduce our carbon footprint and the kegging plant will assist with this.
“We are also currently looking at other options that will help with our reduction.
“With both of these projects due to be completed in 2022, we will be recruiting more staff due to the high demand for our craft beers, both home and abroad.”
Graeme Harrison, area manager for Orkney at HIE, said: “We are delighted to support Sinclair Breweries in its expansion project, which will bring a range of benefits, including job creation and of course carbon reduction – contributing to transition to a net-zero economy.
“The expansion will safeguard jobs at the brewery and also present exciting new opportunities for exporting.”
Brewer heading for its 10th anniversary
The company and its five-strong brewing team make a wide range of casked and kegged beers, and also a large selection of bottled ales under the Orkney and Atlas Brewery brands.
Its labels include Dark Island, Skullsplitter, Latitude, Red MacGregor and Corncrake Ale.
A visitor centre was created in 2012 within the former schoolhouse at Quoyloo, Sandwick, on Orkney’s west mainland.
It quickly became a very popular destination for locals and visitors alike and it is hoped the expansion of the kitchen will mean extended opening hours into the evenings, and even extending the season, possibly opening through to the end of December each year.
HIE has previously assisted Sinclair Breweries with international trade advice and also with various other developments at the brewery and visitor centre.