By Scott Wright

THE owner of Tennent’s Lager has taken a minority stake in Innis & Gunn.

London-listed C&C Group has invested in the eight per cent equity holding as part of a renewed partnership with the Edinburgh-based craft beer firm.

The new deal, which builds on a relationship between the two players stretching back to 2010, includes a long-term incentive scheme, under which a number of additional shares will be available to C&C if performance targets are met.

Innis & Gunn’s beers will continue to be brewed and packaged at Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery in the east end of Glasgow, as well as its Inveralmond Brewery in Perth.

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The firm has raised around £3.3 million to invest in a state-of-the-art brewery at Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park to the west of Edinburgh. It said yesterday that the new brewery “remains a part of our strategy”, and expects to receive a response to its planning application “in the coming weeks”.

In a statement, Innis & Gunn said the revised deal with C&C would ramp up its presence south of the Border by selling its beers through Matthew Clark, C&C’s specialist on-trade wholesale division. C&C will also sell Innis & Gunn through Bulmers Ireland and Tennent’s NI in Ireland.

Innis & Gunn will continue to be responsible for all brand marketing and sales and distribution to national pub chains, the off-trade and current international markets, the statement said.

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Dougal Sharp, chief executive of Innis & Gunn, said: “C&C’s strength in the on-trade across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and our long-term relationship, means we have solid foundations from which to build. We are retaining our independence and gaining a new distribution partner which can help us to introduce our brand to a much wider audience.

“The new manufacturing agreement leaves all options on the table to allow us to build our Edinburgh Brewery when the time is right and when there is less uncertainty in the market caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Tennent’s managing director Kenny Gray said: “This new partnership with Innis & Gunn reflects well on our brand distribution model and it is exciting to welcome them into our portfolio. As an equity partner our interests are naturally aligned to grow the brand.”