Former RAF pilots Al Read and Nigel Tiddy took the Moray brewing scene by storm when they introduced Windswept Brewing Co to the masses more than a decade ago.
From here, it was a labour of love for the like-minded adventurers and friends.
There were milestones along the way, including winning their first beer awards in 2013 – the year they “launched their brewery to the world” – opening a tap room in 2018 and appearing on James Martin’s Saturday Morning TV show in 2021, to name a few.
The award wins, beer portfolio and Al and Nigel’s passion for brewing high-quality products only grew.
The business also been part of key community events like the Strathpuffer mountain bike endurance races.
But sadly, the Press and Journal can reveal that as of Saturday, February 3, Windswept Brewing Co will cease trading… although, there is still a sliver of hope for the beloved Moray company.
Windswept Brewing Co: why the Lossiemouth brewery is closing
The Moray brewery, like the entirety of the local food and drink scene, faced many challenges after the Covid outbreak.
However, managing director Nigel said the experience “wasn’t too bad” for his brewery.
The closure, according to Nigel, is in fact a result of other economic factors, including the invasion of Ukraine and rising costs.
Nigel added: “Buyers’ demands have changed and they don’t have as much disposable income now.
“We see ourselves being a quality product and people have changed their buying habits, so our volume has dropped over the last year or so.
“Looking ahead for the next 12 months, we’re just not going to be viable as a business. We haven’t got the resources to ride it out.”
Nigel shared the news with staff at Windswept Brewing Co after Christmas.
Including Nigel, there are five staff members employed at Windswept.
You could be a potential buyer for the award-winning Moray brewery
It’s not all bad news as there may potentially be a potential buyer out there for the award-winning business.
Already, there has been “a little bit of interest”.
Nigel added: “We’re going to have to either find a buyer or shut down, so we are interested if there’s someone that’s keen on buying.
“We’re keen to discuss options. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“However we have to plan on not being able to sell because what we don’t want to do is keep driving it.”
The managing director says the ideal candidate would need to have a passion for (or some sort of engagement with) the local area. And, of course, a love of beer.
“From the brewery’s point of view, we’re a community based business,” adds Nigel.
“We’re heavily involved in local events and have great support here.
“Somebody who enjoys and understands what a good beer is and has a little bit of knowledge [too].
“Enthusiasm is probably the main thing they would need, and lots of it.”
‘We were all in, it was pretty intense,’ says managing director on the rise of Windswept
Nigel and Al brewed at home before launching Windswept Brewing Co.
They also attended a brewing club, before deciding to “give it a go” themselves and release their beer to the masses.
Nigel said: “At that time there wasn’t that much craft beer about.
“We grew quite organically. In the summer of our first year we were brewing three times a week to try and keep up with the demand.
“At that point we went, well, maybe we’re on to something here. We were all in, it was pretty intense.”
He went on to say that 2018 and 2019 were “probably the peak” of Windswept Brewing Co.
What’s next for Nigel? Plus, what he’ll miss the most about his role
When asked what he’ll miss about the company, he said: “The beer obviously.
“We make good beer and our range has won loads of awards. We always said we weren’t going to put anything out if we didn’t think it was something that we enjoyed drinking.
“The people as well.
“We have a great team here. Over the years we’ve had great fun and fantastic staff who have pushed us to where we’ve got to.
“And also other people in the industry. It’s a nice industry because everyone is pretty friendly – it’s hard to be grumpy when you’re usually/probably drinking a beer with them at an event.
“As craft brewers, we feel as though we’re all in it together.”
Nigel plans on taking a break in the coming months. And thanks all the partners that Windswept Brewing Co has worked with over the years.
“I’ll maybe get out on my bicycle a bit more, and find a nice beer to have at the end of it.
“It’s been amazing [the journey] and I wouldn’t change it, apart from this bit.”
Read our beer writer Kieran Beattie’s recent review of some of Windswept’s beers here: