Genius Brewing has launched its lower-alcohol beers in draft as it seeks to expand its on-trade presence in pubs in conjunction with the start of the Rugby World Cup.

The move comes three years after the Glasgow-based brewer first intended, with plans for a launch in 2020 upended by the pandemic and subsequent supply chain challenges that saw maintaining production in cans become the main challenge.

Former British and Irish Lions captain Finlay Calder, an original trustee of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, pulled the first pint of Gen!us at Teuchters Bar in Edinburgh. The brewer is an official fundraising partner of the foundation, donating 5p from every Gen!us beer to Doddie Weir’s MND charity.

The Herald: Jason Clarke and Charlie CraigJason Clarke and Charlie Craig (Image: Genius Brewing)

Genius was set up five years ago by Charlie Craig and Jason Clarke to tap into healthier drinking trends among consumers. 

“In Britain we still love a pint in the pub," Mr Craig said. "So although home drinking has grown over the years, any ambitious beer brand has to be in the on-trade and that means being available in draft.

"It’s a big step for the business which brings its own logistical and commercial challenges but it’s also a big opportunity to offer Gen!us to a huge new market.”

The initial launch will see Gen!us Craft Lager and Gen!us IPA available in 30 litre kegs to the hospitality trade in central Scotland and London. In addition to Teuchters, they will be served in a number of other Edinburgh pubs such as Montpeliers, Ryries Bar and The Abbotsford, as well as rugby clubs across Scotland.

READ MORE: Scots brewer Genius targets growth on back of healthier drinking trends

As more distribution partners are brough on board, Mr Craig and Mr Clarke hope to see Gen!us sold UK-wide.

“Healthier drinking is now a mainstream mindset and so we see a market for our low-calorie, light beers right across the country," Mr Clarke said.

“Rugby and beer go hand-in-hand and so having a true legend like Fin pull the first pint of Gen!us feels very special. I hope that this Rugby World Cup will see rugby fans enjoy a pint of Gen!us knowing they’re supporting Doddie’s foundation.”