Ed Evans.



What is your business called?

Cold Town Beer Brewery.

Where is it based?

Edinburgh, with a main brewery on Dunedin Street and a microbrewery at Cold Town House in the Grassmarket.

The brewery was named in honour of Calton Hill Brewery in Edinburgh, which was the first in Britain to brew lager in 1835.

What does it produce?

Cold Town is a crisp, fresh, session-able and refreshing lager. We have brewed over 20 different beers in all to date. Styles include pale ales, IPA’s, pilsner, saison & berliner-weisse sour beers.

The brewery uses Scottish Pale Malt from Crisp Malt in Alloa as the base malt across its range. The barley is 100 per cent Scottish and is sourced from the east coast. The maltings at Alloa date back to the 1890s.

To whom does it sell?

All of our brews begin their journey in bars, and then are brought online when we feel that we’ve received a seal of approval from our customers who drink them and the bar teams who help create them.

With bars, pubs and restaurants around Scotland forced to temporarily close during lockdown we bounced back by making our flagship craft lager available for beer lovers to buy direct from selected local retailers and delivered straight to their door.

We sell online via our own shop and e-commerce sites and supply stores in Edinburgh, Bridge of Allan and Glasgow.

Cold Town Beer lagers are now available in selected beer gardens around Scotland.

What is its turnover?

We were a very profitable business with an annual turnover in excess of £600,000 before the pandemic. We look forward to returning there soon as bars and restaurants reopen again after lockdown.

How many employees?

12, including 10 in production and two in sales and marketing.

When was it formed?

We started Brewing in February 2018.

I founded the firm with Nic Wood, Louise Maclean and Euan Bain, who all come from a hospitality/food and drink background.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I grew up in rural Stirlingshire where as a family we would make country wines and preserves with home-grown and foraged produce. After studying chemistry at university, I started working as a chef and picked up home brewing as a hobby.

I started my professional brewing career at Traditional Scottish Ales as Quality Manager. I then moved to Drygate Brewing Company in Glasgow where I was Co-Head Brewer with Jake Griffin who now runs Up-Front Brewing. This was a great experience in the creative side of the industry. I then moved to work for Tennent’s at Wellpark which gave me great insight into the workings of larger breweries and the techniques they use to maintain consistency.

What was your biggest break?

Our beers had a strong rate of sale from installation in our venues driven by the bar staff who took such pride and personal ownership in the brand. “It’s ours” is how we encourage all our people to describe Cold Town. When we opened an online shop we were delighted to see sales steadily increase and be enjoyed by people who hadn’t found us in a bar. The moment we were most proud of was seeing our beers in retail stores. It made all of our work worthwhile to see our product share shelf space with some big players and know that people were choosing us.

What was your worst moment?

You mean aside from a pandemic which closed all of the bars we were being sold in?

We’ve been lucky enough to be able to install our own canning line. This means that we can brew and can in the same place and get our product on the shelves quickly, which allows us to sell super fresh beer.

While this is great, however, it does mean that there are more things to go wrong! I wouldn’t say it was a ‘worst’ moment but it’s certainly been a fast learning curve for the team and involved a fair bit of trial and error until we nailed it!

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

As the Head Brewer, I have the autonomy to create what I believe are great-tasting beers for consumers to enjoy on all occasions. It’s fantastic to be able to get direct feedback from our consumers, which we can take on board, all feeding into our Bar-Raised ethos.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We were born in Scotland and aim to be a legend in our own backyard. From from there who knows! It would be great to see us have more presence in other regions of the UK and beyond.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Continued reform of business rates in Scotland would benefit the huge hospitality industry, which would benefit the craft beer market in general. We would love to see a Hospitality Tsar appointed by the Scottish Government, someone who really understands how the industry works and how to support the rebuilding; that’s something we anticipate will take up to three years.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Don’t have all your eggs in one basket. As the pandemic hit, we were`100 per cent reliant on a hastily-closed on trade. That rendered our turnover £0 and spurred us on to quickly turn to canning and focus on the off trade .

How do you relax?

I love to spend time outside, up Scotland’s beautiful mountains, riding my bicycle or walking my dog.