ALEX Salmond has hailed a half million pound investment in an Ellon business which will help it expand enormously.
The Gordon MSP praised the new BrewDog facility at Balmacassie on a visit on Monday, describing the state-of-the-art building as ”the Star Trek of brewing” and BrewDog’s ongoing expansion “a good news story.”
The Fraserburgh-based firm is in the process of constructing a new brewery facility at Balmacassie which, it is anticipated, will create up to 20 new jobs for the town as well as safeguarding existing employment in Fraserburgh, which will be moved to the Ellon site. Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie chose Balmacassie after proposals for a similar facility on land near Potterton encountered difficulties.
The business, which has gone from strength to strength since its founding in 2006, was recently awarded a grant worth around half a million pounds from the Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation (FPMC) scheme to aid its expansion. It is anticipated that the new facility will enable BrewDog to increase production of their beer range tenfold, as well as allowing the group to repatriate operations currently based overseas to the north-east of Scotland.
Speaking to the Times, Mr Salmond said that the facility was an unmitigated good news story.
“The FPMC grant will allow the company to invest in state of the art equipment, making it the ‘Star Trek’ of breweries. This will increase production ten times over, generate around 20 jobs, and create a secure buyer for Scottish malt and barley.
“This is a hugely welcome development, and exactly the sort of business we want to encourage. BrewDog’s new state of the art plant will allow the company to increase its production, as well as moving into the soft drinks market.
“I will regard it as a duty as the local MSP to sample the first Ellon-produced beer.”
The company has courted controversy in the past with a range of super-strength beers including the ‘Tactical Nuclear Penguin’ with a 32% alcohol level, and ‘Tokyo*’, at 18%. The high-alcohol content of those beers was criticised by health campaigners. The company, in typically satirical fashion, responded by releasing a 1% alcohol beer called ‘Nanny State’.
The news was also welcomed by Ellon’s councillors, who said the new employment at the plant would be good for the town.
Cllr Isobel Davidson told the Times: “Development is good for the town and I welcome the job opportunities the brewery will bring - I wish BrewDog every success with their new factory.”
Cllr Gillian Owen echoed her sentiments, saying: “This is an exciting new venture for Ellon and the local area, this is a strong and thriving business which is extremely well known. Being an Aberdeenshire Company transferring its whole operation to Ellon will surely enhance the local economy and bring new jobs to the area.
“As a former member of the Campaign for Real Ale I am delighted to welcome them to the Town and look forward to an early opportunity of taking a look around! BrewDog, I hope, will have the added value of becoming another Tourist attraction for our Town and we can all have an opportunity to sample Real Ale at its best!”
Cllr Rob Merson told the Times that there was a possibility that the facility’s presence would generate tourism.
He said: “I am delighted at the prospect of BrewDog’s new headquarters opening in Ellon. Not only will this introduce a range of skills and provide new employment for the town, BrewDog has a cult following that will bring a regular stream of visitors to their new state-of-the-art facility - and hopefully to Ellon as well.”
Cllr Richard Thomson added: “BrewDog has excellent marketing skills and a truly global client list. It is very good news that Ellon will be so closely identified with such a high-profile manufacturer, and I am sure that their choosing to set up here will act as an incentive for other companies to look at what the area has to offer.”