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Export hopes brew for premium beer brands

AMBITIOUS young Scottish beer company Innis & Gunn has declared a £243,000 retained profit for last year, while established Scottish beer brands McEwan's and Younger's have been snapped up by English brewer Wells and Young's.

Wells and Young’s managing director Nigel McNally told The Herald he would reintroduce McEwan’s as a cask ale brand and launch an expanded bottled range to target the premium end of the beer market.

Innis & Gunn, headed by MD Dougal Sharp, revealed its 2010 earnings in a filing to Companies House. Last week it announced a 20% rise in turnover in 2010, to £5.2 million.

Its beers are brewed on contract by Greene King and are sold as far afield as Canada, the US, Sweden and Norway.

Meanwhile, family-owned Wells and Young’s said Heineken will continue brewing McEwan’s draught ales, which include the likes of McEwan’s Export and 80/-, on its behalf at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Brewery.

The Bedford-based brewery said it will open a small Scottish office to oversee the promotion of its newly acquired brands and introduce its existing range, which includes Young’s Bitter and Courage Directors, to the Scottish market.

Mr McNally, managing director of 130-year-old Wells and Young’s, said he believed the Scottish brands “are in a healthy condition”. But he added: “We believe we can reinvigorate them.”

He continued: “We want to bring McEwan’s back on cask. We also believe we can offer a wider range of McEwan’s in bottle.”

Beers such as McEwan’s 80/-, acquired by Heineken when it bought Scottish & Newcastle in 2008, have not been produced as cask-conditioned ales for some four years.

Mr McNally said: “We believe we can take McEwan’s and Younger’s into other parts of the UK where they are not currently sold and we can take some of our English beers into the Scottish market.

“We also feel there is a really significant opportunity in export.”

Wells and Young’s exports its current brands to markets including the US, Canada, Russia and China.

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