Island Hopping

Beers from some of Scotland's island breweriesThere are thirteen breweries on Scotland’s islands. In 2015 I conceived the idea of attempting to visit them all.

Scotland’s islands, like the rest of the country, are often better known for whisky than beer. Yet the so-called craft beer revolution saw 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 were, when I developed this book idea, scattered over a distance of four hundred miles. They ranged from well-known, decades-old operations with numerous awards under their belts, to one wee brewery that claimed to employ ten percent of its island’s working age population.

The island breweries I knew of when I began research are linked below (several links will be broken but I’m keeping them for posterity). They’re also on the map on the right. I visited five during 2015 and 2016, before the project fell into abeyance. In 2023 I downgraded the idea into one of my Books on the Horizon. It is unlikely to be resurrected.

Arran Brewery | Bute Brew CoColonsay 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