TWO Scottish craft brewers are set to launch low and no-alcohol beers in a new expansion push on the back of record growth in the new year.

Glasgow-based Brewgooder, famed for its Clean Water Lager social enterprise, signalled the expansion of its product offering to include a low alcohol version, while Innis & Gunn, which is to build a new £20 million brewery in Edinburgh this year, also plans low and no-alcohol additions to the range.

The move towards also selling low and non-alcohol drinks will provide customer choice, additional social responsibility and further growth potential, the beer companies said.

It comes as alcohol-free drinks aimed at adults are gaining space on supermarket shelves, with Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits firm, securing a majority stake in alcohol-free “spirit” Seedlip, and Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr buying a stake in the Elegantly Spirited non-alcoholic adult drinks business.

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Both Scottish beer companies toasted a good year in 2019.

Brewgooder, which was founded in 2016 and channels 100% of its profits towards clean water projects around the world, is expecting to turn over its first £1m in 2020, paving the way for a product and territory expansion that the firm reckons could bring a £3m turnover in around four years.

This is up from £167,000 in 2016 and £544,000 last year, when 32,800 lives were impacted.

Alan Mahon, the 29-year-old founder of Brewgooder, said: “We are hoping to reach £1m in turnover this year which for us will be led by collaborations and innovations and new product development and, having built the brand with Clean Water Lager as our flagship and only beer, how we go from sub-£1m to £2m-3m over the next three or four years, which is what we are after.

“That innovation will probably come in the low and no alcohol end of the category because that is where people are going and that is what we want to promote in terms of sustainability but being even more socially responsible.”

As part of its Global Gathering under which it hopes to work with 500 brewers over the World Water Day weekend on March 20-22, it is asking brewers to brew a unique beer, launch it, and bid to raise £500 or more each for Brewgooder Foundation projects it is hoped will empower the lives of 100,000 by 2021.

“We are collaborating with lots of brewers around the world as part of the Global Gathering which is awesome. There’s now 203 brewers from 20 countries from Hong Kong to Oregon in the States so, basically coast to coast around the world, which is fantastic. There’s about 30 Scottish brewers and 135 brewers from across the UK.”

READ MORE: Profits are water of life for Brewgooder

It will also create lasting links, it is hoped.

Mr Mahon said: “One of the things is that we don’t know what the future looks like from an export point of view because of uncertainties around Brexit, so for us this is about developing markets in a low risk way but in a way that brings the whole industry together for a common cause over a weekend.

“We’re hoping that is going to generate a lot of consumer awareness about what we do, and also some good relationships in countries that we’ve never exported a beer to, so for me that is really exciting, and I think once that happens it will be a different world for us afterwards.”

The firm employs six and will be hiring in marketing and sales in the new year.

He said: “What the (gathering) campaign is doing is giving them a nice vehicle with which to have fun at the same time and do something that is new and interesting. For me, I’d like to see it as an opportunity to learn from others who do things really well and surprise you, in waste management and sustainability, and, as well as collaborating on beers, collaborating on ideas, to help make the industry a better place for people and planet.”

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Innis & Gunn has just announced Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park to the west of Edinburgh as the location for its new brewery. Subject to planning permission and further corporate and regulatory approvals, it will be the first major brewery to be built in Edinburgh for 150 years.

Innis & Gunn has grown to almost 21 million pints and increased turnover to over £25m, while also hailing 40% growth in its Lager Beer and 15 years in a row of double-digit sales growth this year.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, who founded the Edinburgh firm in 2003 and who has signed up to the Global Gathering, said: “Overall Innis & Gunn has had a good year. We’ve been focused on building from 2018 and we have made progress in all sorts of areas. We are in the middle of our crowdfund, we’ve got £2m out of £3m raised.

“It has been in some ways quite a strange year with all the uncertainty around Brexit and the political environment but the good news is people are still drinking lots of great beer and Innis & Gunn is most definitely one of them.”

He said: “We are looking to develop a range of low alcohol beers to launch [in 2020].

“I can’t say too much more about that at this stage but we do recognise the opportunity and I think that it is completely consistent with the way that modern drinkers are viewing the beer brands that they know and love.

“If you like a particular brand or flavour, then offering a low alcohol expression of that beer, as long as it delivers exactly the same flavour of the product that they are used to drinking does then I think there is a huge opportunity there and it is entirely consistent I think with the way that people want to consume their favourite beer brands today.

“If you have are going to drink Innis & Gunn, it is nice to have the choice to drink one with alcohol or one without.”