Scotland’s islands, like the rest of the country, are often better known for whisky than beer. Yet in recent years the so-called craft beer revolution has seen a plethora of new breweries to add to those long-established ones, including those on often very small islands which produce beer in tiny quantities but to great quality.
From Unst at the top of Shetland to Arran in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland’s island breweries are scattered over a distance of four hundred miles. They range from well-known, decades-old operations with numerous awards under their belts, to one wee brewery that claims to employ ten percent of its island’s working age population.
As an excuse to see some islands I’ve never been to (and rediscover some old favourites) I’ve decided to visit each of the breweries on Scottish islands.
I’ll be charting what I discover about the breweries and their beer, but my curiosity is as much about the islands they call home and the journeys I take to these beautiful corners of Scotland.
The island breweries I know of in Scotland are linked below and on the map on the right. I have so far visited five.
I’m almost certain my list is complete, but some are very small operations so it’s possible I’ve missed one. Do you know of any I should add to my list?
Arran Brewery | Bute Brew Co | Colonsay Brewery | Cuillin Brewery | Hebridean Brewing Company | Swannay Brewery | Islay Ales | Isle of Mull Brewing Company | Isle of Skye Brewing Company | The Orkney Brewery | Valhalla Brewery | Lerwick Brewery | Laig Bay Brewing Company
Due to practicalities (including time, money and other concurrent travel plans) it is unlikely that the trips will be completed before 2017. I’ll hopefully publish the story of my adventures at some point thereafter – with the (very) provisional working title of “Island Hopping: travels to Scotland’s island breweries“.