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Brewery plans are unveiled amid craft beer boom

THE Commonwealth Games and Celtic FC have put it on the map but Glasgow's east end will soon have another attraction - craft beers.

WEST GOES EAST: The company's Petra Wetzel pours a pint in the company's existing brewery near to Glasgow Green. Picture: Martin Shields
WEST GOES EAST: The company's Petra Wetzel pours a pint in the company's existing brewery near to Glasgow Green. Picture: Martin Shields

One of Scotland's acclaimed microbreweries has applied for permission for a major new development in the area, the second beer manufacturer to do so in a matter of months.

Heidi Beers, which trades as West Brewery, already produces its St Mungo beer in its flagship operation near Glasgow Green but wants to build another facility on the city's eastern boundary close to the M74.

It is understood the new ­brewery, plans for which have been submitted to Glasgow City Council, would cost in excess of £7 million and create around 20 jobs at the site on London Road.

The company is now in advanced talks with regeneration agency Clyde Gateway about securing land for the venture, which would include a tasting facility.

Heidi Beers has already received £1.85m from the Scottish Government to help move all its production from Germany to a new facility in Scotland.

Around 70% of its operations are based in Germany, with the firm also talking about launching a new low-alcohol lager.

Last year two leading drinks companies announced plans to build a craft brewery which they said could help to regenerate part of the east end.

The Alloa-based Williams Brothers Brewing Company announced proposals to establish the Drygate Brewing Company on Duke Street by this spring.

The company plans to work with the C&C Group, the manufacturer behind Magners Cider and Tennent's Lager, which is brewed in the areas, and said it hoped to foster tourism and educate amateur brewers. Further ­proposals include a visitor centre as well as a restaurant, function suite and beer garden. The project aims to generate 16 new jobs.

Scotland's microbrewing ­industry is booming, with a record number of breweries opening during the past decade.

Figures from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) show the number of establishments producing craft beers and ales north of the Border has doubled in 10 years.

The highest profile firm has been BrewDog, which has 11 bars across the UK including ones in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and which delivered annual profits growth of 193.3% in the three years to 2011.

In the US, the craft beer market represents 8%of total beer sales, while in the UK figure stands at just 0.5%. However, over in Canada, ­Edinburgh-based Innis and Gunn already outsells both Leffe and Newcastle Brown Ale.

No-one from Heidi Beers was available for comment but in a recent interview on the award of cash for the venture, the firm's Petra Wetzel said: "The food and drink industry in Scotland, in particular the premium producers, play an increasingly important role for Scotland, focusing on job creation, exporting Scotland the brand and providing Scots with sustainable and well-sourced produce.

"We are proud to create premium lagers and wheat beers that showcase the best of Scotland and this grant will enable us to build our brewing centre of excellence right here in Glasgow."

A Clyde Gateway spokesman said: "I can confirm that Clyde Gateway has been in discussions with the owner of West Brewery and a planning application has been submitted for a development on land within our ownership."

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