SCOTLAND is undergoing a brewing renaissance with more breweries today than at any time in the last century, according to Holyrood researchers.

Driven by a growing taste for craft beers, the number of breweries now stands at 115, compared to 92 in 1910, a number which continually declined to just 11 by 1970.

Small scale ‘micro-breweries’ now account for 83% of Scotland’s brewing base.

The report, by the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice), found brewery numbers had “increased massively” since 2010, up 229%.

Half of Scotland’s 32 local authorities now contain at least one brewing business, compared to just four in 2010, with both urban and rural areas seeing an expansion.

Edinburgh and Highland are the councils with the most brewing activity.

The explosion in variety has also resulted in a boost to the economy.

The industry contributed £334m to GDP in 2015, a 146% increase since 2011, reversing a decline seen in the previous decade.

Although the industry contributes a relatively small proportion, 0.3%, of total Scottish GDP.

Only 10% of Scottish breweries have sales of £1m a year or more, while 52% have a turnover below £100,000.

The average turnover of a Scottish brewery was £271,310 in 2018, less than a third of the £673,000 average turnover for all businesses in the Scottish economy.

Employment in the brewing industry has been steady at around 1000 people for nine years.

The Spice report said: "Globally, beer consumption has been falling for decades. However, this has not dampened the significant brewery start-up rate, responding to consumers choosing to drink more expensive, specialised beers.

"Scotland's craft breweries have flourished over recent years with a plethora of new breweries entering the market.


The research also found Scotland has 128 malt and grain distilleries, giving the country the largest concentration of whisky producers in the world.

There are also more than 60 gin distilleries producing over 110 varieties of Scottish gin.

Overall, the spirits industry makes up 3% of Scottish GDP, with nine out of 10 distilling jobs in the UK being located north of the border.

Average turnover across all Scottish distilleries was around £5.3m each in 2018.