INNIS & Gunn has finally got a brewing site of its own after acquiring The Inveralmond Brewery.

The acquisition of the Perthshire firm was funded from £3.1 million raised through a crowdfunding initiative.

An innovative mini-bond programme, named “BeerBonds” guaranteed a return of 7.5 per cent per year for four years, based on a minimum investment of £500.

The initiative was launched last April to raise funds to establish a brewery in the south east of Scotland, but founder and master brewer Dougal Sharp said the Inveralmond deal put the firm’s plans two years ahead of schedule.

“We were looking all over Scotland and had identified two potential sites, but when you consider the costs and planning procedures in a new build, it could take two years,” said Mr Sharp. “We’ve been friends with Inveralmond for years and I have huge respect for the beers that they make. The more we investigated the possibility, the more it seemed to make sense to combine the strengths of both businesses.”

Since its inception in 2003 Innis & Gunn has grown into one of the UK’s biggest craft brewers, with turnover in 2014 hitting £12m. Selling over 20 million bottles of beer, it is the second biggest supplier of craft beer to the UK off-trade yet has always used other breweries to make its beer.

That model has proved successful for the firm, but Mr Sharp said the acquisition would provide the room and flexibility for further expansion in the future as the company continues to grow.

The newly named Innis & Gunn Inveralmond Brewery will see “substantial” investment in the creation of a state-of-the-art brewing and maturation facility that will enable both brands to grow domestically and in the export market.

“Inveralmond is currently running at about half its 20 hectolitre capacity, and we’re planning on growing that to 40 hectolitres over the next few years,” said Mr Sharp.

The new brewery will also be fully equipped with an oak barrel maturation warehouse as well as Innis & Gunn’s proprietary infusion equipment, which in the past has been used to infuse beers with aromas and flavours from oak, bergamot, coffee beans and other artisanal ingredients.

“I’m a beer enthusiast after all,” said Mr Sharp. “This is why I get up in the morning.”

Innis & Gunn will retain its Edinburgh HQ, and it will continue to use Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery for its larger brews. “We’re developing a twin brewing strategy,” revealed Mr Sharp. “Wellpark is very good at making big sellers, like our lager. That will continue, allowing us to spend more time working on new beers."

Mr Sharp couldn’t confirm the number of jobs the move would create, but said it was “inevitable” that new positions would arise during the expansion project.

Fergus Clark, founder and managing director at Inveralmond called the deal a “real win-win”. He commented: “Our beers will gain access to a sales and distribution infrastructure that will massively accelerate our growth both at home and internationally, while Innis & Gunn get the brewery they wanted earlier than planned.”

While the acquisition has strategic value for Innis & Gunn, Gerald Michaluk, Chairman of the Scottish branch of the Society of Independent Brewers, said Scotland was ripe for further M&A action. “It is inevitable that we will see more mergers and acquisitions in the sector,” he said. “The speed the market has grown at, I can certainly see more deals being done.”

Mr Michuluk added: “Innis & Gunn were in a tricky position. Not having a brewery was difficult. They had two choices and this move makes a lot of sense. I’m very pleased for them, and for Inveralmond.”

Earlier this week Innis & Gunn launched Sip Drinks, a French joint venture with Spanish drinks firm Group Diego Zamora, with an aim to gain a foothold in the country. The firm has also launched two bar restaurants. The Beer Kitchen in Dundee opened last month, following an Edinburgh venue. There are plans for at least two further Beer Kitchen’s, including one in Glasgow.