Two north breweries are forging ahead with expansion plans following successful awards from a government initiative to support businesses in Scotland.
Windswept Brewing Co received £35,000 from Business Loans Scotland (BLS) towards plans to create a visitor centre and brewery tap at its Lossiemouth site along with more suitable office space.
This will allow Windswept to set up regular tours for the large number of tourists to the area, as well as put on special events for locals and tourists alike.
The long-term aim is to grow to capacity in the current location before building a new brewery that will enable production capacity to increase 10-fold.
Wooha Brewing Co also received £50,000 from BLS in addition to funding from both HSBC and Highlands and Islands Enterprise earlier this year.
The loan will be used towards kitting out and optimising its new larger production facility in Kinloss where the company moved a few months ago.
Founder and owner Heather McDonald said: “Our new site means we can increase production five-fold which means we are well on our way to achieving our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s leading craft beer exporters.
“We believe that in 2018 80% of our business will be from exports, with the US being the main market.”
Andrew Dickson, fund manager from BLS, added: “Access to capital remains a major hurdle to many small and medium-sized businesses which are looking to start up and grow. Often, our funding can make the difference between a business struggling or flourishing and that in turn will have a positive impact on employment, profitability and making communities stronger.
“I am delighted the fund has been able to support both of these Moray brewing businesses.”
John Cowe, chairman of Moray Economic Partnership, said: “This is fantastic news for Moray and another example of the spirit of entrepreneurship and business leadership we are seeing drive the local economy forward. Both Windswept Brewing Co and Wooha Brewery are valued local businesses providing employment and boosting the local economy in Moray.
“These loans follow the award of Business Loans Scotland funding earlier this year to Moray businesses, ProBond Marine and Makar and it is great to see local businesses expanding.”