ARRAN Brewery is considering quitting the site of what would be Scotland's first sake brewery after a string of thefts and vandal attacks over two years.

The firm bought a former primary school in Dreghorn, North Ayrshire, to house the new facility two years ago, but a spate attacks on the premises and issues with grants have held up their plans.

On Sunday in the latest of a string of attacks, more than £5,000 in damage was done to an autoclave, a device awaiting installation that is used to sterilise equipment being used in the on-site laboratory.


The development includes brewing and distilling research and teaching centre and a bottling plant is already installed in the building ahead of the establishment of a brewery. It was to feature a visitor centre, which aims to attract about 30,000 visitors a year to the area.

Read more: Arran reveals plan for UK's first sake brewery

Now the Arran Brewery board is to meet later this week and on the agenda is leaving the site because of the security issues which are putting jobs and investment at risk.

Last month the former Dreghorn Primary School, was targeted as vandals caused £600 worth of damage to a forklift.


In November 2014 the site suffered four break-ins in as many weeks costing more than £60,000 with the brewery saying windows were being broken quicker than they could be replaced.

Previous break-ins at the site had seen copper boilers stolen along with lead from the roof.

Managing director Gerald Michaluk who called the those responsible for the latest attack "morons", said: "We are having crisis meetings to decide what we will do but at the moment many of our board members just want to pull the plug on the site and move somewhere else.

Read more: Arran Brewery expanding in Spain

"We cannot make this site look a prisoner of war camp with security cameras everywhere and barbed wire. It has to be a place that people enjoy walking around."

He believed HM Revenue & Customs were not going to give a licence to hold duty-free stock if they cannot secure the site.

"These are thug like attacks, using chisels and screwdrivers and smashing or kicking in doors with no apparent fear of being observed by our CCTV cameras.

Read more: Arran Brewery invests in bottling line

"The damage caused and item stolen is heart breaking. I can only assume these idiots mistook the autoclave for a safe and tried to break into it."

The thieves also stole some some "very distinctive" HB Munich branded glasses.


Arran Brewery already have a bottling system on order from Italy and due to arrive next month. The company is now going to re-assign this equipment, and the associated jobs, to another more secure site."

The Brewery had just advertised a crowd-funding campaign for the sake brewery when the raid happened.

Read more: Arran reveals plan for UK's first sake brewery

"There has been a catalogue of break-ins, damage and vandalism," he said. "We have had so many break-ins we are seriously doubting we will will get HMRC licence.


"We are in a race. Someone has spent £9.8 million on a saki brewery in Cambridge and we are waiting against them to be first to market in the UK. We want to be open yesterday.

"But as we were advertising to raise the money for the project, people were breaking in and destroying our plans."

Arran had been making sake, a rice wine, on a very small scale before deciding to set up a brewery and it was expected that most of what was produced would be exported to Japan.