‘I’ve got hundreds of ideas’

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in Scottish Beer | 5 Comments

It really is a great time for Scottish brewing at the moment, with new producers appearing left, right and centre – and also a long way north of the centre. Until now, the Black Isle was home to one very successful brewery, but the non-island (like Monster Island – it’s actually a peninsula) has a second – the Cromarty Brewing Company. Founded last year by Heriot-Watt graduate Craig Middleton, they recently released their first beer – Happy Chappy, a 4.1% NZ/US-hopped pale ale. This week, Craig was back in Edinburgh setting up contacts with many of the city’s pubs (a tough day’s work by any standard).

We caught up with him at BrewDog Edinburgh, and after a couple of 2/3rd’s* of Lagunitas IPA and the quite brilliant Evil Twin Istedgade Hipster Ale, we chatted about his philosophy and how he’s been getting on so far. Beginning with a 4% session beer is a great way to get local interest in his business – particularly in a part of Scotland with plenty of thirsty farmers. But Craig’s second beer is something very different, and he’s got a huge amount of enthusiasm for things he could do in the future. “I’ve got hundreds of ideas”, he says. Certainly, if one particular plan comes off, it could be something entirely new in Scotland.

Having secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural development scheme, together with an Inverness bank, the money raised has been invested in an impressive kit. Craig’s experimental streak has already resulted in the production of an eisbock – Happy Chappy entombed in ice until the abv hit 8% (and re-named Chilly Chappy). With a bottling plant in-line and soon to be in place, look for good things to come from Cromarty over the next few months. Edinburgh drinkers can get to grips with both of their beers (although probably not the eisbock) at the Kilderkin on Friday the 17th of February.

*Yep, now you have to ask for ‘a two-thirds of Evil Twin Istedgade Hipster Ale, please’ rather than ‘pint, barman’


  1. Steve
    February 1, 2012

    one i need to look out for when i’m next in ed

  2. Owen
    February 2, 2012

    Looking forward to getting some in at SRAF. I’ll be sure to wander to Kilderkin on the 17th.

  3. Tallulah
    February 2, 2012

    This all sounds very interesting – shall have to investigate further methinks.

  4. Richard
    February 2, 2012

    He’s extremely enthusiastic, which is just great. I’m sure plenty of other pubs will be taking his beer on – I’d definitely contact him about the SRAF Owen, he’d surely send some casks your way. Bottles coming soon, we’ll all have to get hold of them when they appear. I’m not sure if I can reveal what his second beer is or not – but it’s very different to Happy Chappy.

  5. Leigh
    February 3, 2012

    An Eisbock, eh? Interesting indeed!

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