THE founder of craft beer firm Innis & Gunn has revealed the company is setting up a brewing operation across the Atlantic.

Canada, where Innis & Gunn maintained its position as the number one imported craft beer last year, has long been one of the firm’s biggest export markets.

And Dougal Sharp, who founded the firm in Edinburgh in 2003, said he is currently establishing a draught brewing operation in Toronto, from where it could supply the Canadian and US markets.

Mr Sharp, who noted the move had not been made in response to Brexit, said the investment is being pursued because “we believe that fresher beer and a less complicated supply chain would actually benefit our fans and the products out there.”

He added: “I think there are certain things we would not want to move out of Scotland, but small chunks of business like draught brewing for the local marketplace [we would look at] differently.

“But Brexit is not driving that. We just think it is the right thing to do for our products and for our fans.”

The move comes after Innis & Gunn increased its sales team in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto in a concerted effort to build sales in the Canadian on-trade. Currently the bulk of sales take place in the country’s off-sales sector.

Mr Sharp added: “We believe that building on-trade draught distribution in Canada will help us take the next step, in terms of brand awareness and penetration, that creating the draught lager brand here (the UK) did five years ago.

“We have invested in up-weighting the team in Canada from a team of two to a team of six.”

Saturday Interview, pages 26 and 27