A SELF-STYLED 'punk brewery' has branded Aberdeenshire Council "deluded" amid claims they are trying to charge 60 times the market rate for land upon which the firm wants to build a new distillery.

In a move typical of their unconventional approach, craft beer producers BrewDog appear to breached a confidentiality agreement with the council over plans for a £5 million hotel, restaurant, conference centre and distillery in Ellon with an outspoken attack against their website.

The firm threatened to pull the plug on the plans - which they say would create 80 jobs - because the council is putting its "own interests over those of the people they supposedly serve" by refusing to sell 2.5 acres of land for £12,500 rather than the £750,000 demanded by the local authority.

Aberdeenshire Council claim the land has been earmarked for the expansion of a cemetery and BrewDog's valuation is based on the price of agricultural land.

Chief executive Jim Savege said the firm had went public in a bid to "weaken the council's position".

He said: "We're disappointed that the company has sought to break confidentiality during what we regarded as live and on-going discussions to achieve an agreement which is fair to both parties and which protects the interests of the local taxpayer, as well as creating opportunities for residents."

He added that the council would continue to help BrewDog - which is based in Ellon - achieve its ambitions if the company remained committed to the development.

Mr Savege was responding to a statement on the manufacturer's website which began: "This is a story we did not want to tell the world.

"But after well over a year of banging our heads against a brick wall with Aberdeenshire Council we feel we had no option but to let the public know what is happening"

It went on to insist it wanted to expand operations in Ellon but would now look elsewhere.

It said: “Aberdeenshire Council’s main role is to supposedly serve the people of north east Scotland. Yet all they have done here is prevent us from creating 80 new local jobs and providing facilities which the Ellon community desperately need.”

BrewDog is currently in the process of creating a brewery in Columbus, Ohio.

On its website it said that authorities there had "not only fast-tracked our application and planning consents, they personally ensured nothing took more than a fortnight to get approved".

BrewDog insisted that they paid "much less for 52 acres in Columbus, Ohio than our hometown Council are charging us for 2.5 acres in Aberdeenshire".

In a bid to resolve the dispute, former First Minister Alex Salmon has offered to mediate between the warring firm and the council.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: “After learning of the situation concerning BrewDog and Aberdeenshire Council today, Mr Salmond has written to the directors of BrewDog, Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Properties and Facilities, and the Estate Team Leader.

“Mr Salmond has also offered his office to facilitate any further meetings between BrewDog and Aberdeenshire Council.

“Mr Salmond has made it very clear that it is extremely important that everyone involved in this proposal does everything they can to ensure the project remains in Ellon.”

An online petition was launched yesterday urging allow Brewdog to proceed with the scheme.