The craft beer industry is growing in the United States and also globally. One of the areas where the craft beer industry is growing globally is Scotland. With Scotland’s craft beer scene growing as it is, we thought at Journey to the Beer Store it would great to interview David Gladwin the owner of Scotland’s newest and best craft beer brewery Black Isle Brewing Co. Along with talking to David Gladwin about Black Isle Brewing Co. we also discuss the craft beer scene in Scotland.
David, how did you get into the craft beer industry?
Necessity and love: I have always loved really good beer, and I needed to find gainful employment. At the time I was unemployed, and probably fairly unemployable, and I wanted to do something that was enjoyable and fun and at the same time productive. I wanted to make great beer using organic barley and hops, and build an organic beer brand.
I like your logo for your brewery. How did you come up with the logo?
I designed it originally, loosely based on other influences such as the Island Records image, and it has worked well for us.
You make all organic beers, why did you decide to make all organic beers?
I wanted to make good beer first and foremost, but to do it using organic malt and hops. I care about the environment and I am against industrial agriculture and monoculture that creates absurd fluctuations in price; is artificially supported by subsidies; causes a huge amount of waste; and is highly damaging to the environment. Yes, we have to feed the world, but we also have the ridiculous and immoral situation where in the western world we throw away 30% of our weekly shop while there are starving people in other parts of the world. Chopping down the rainforest to grow thousands of acres of Palm Oil or soya bean is not sustainable and only benefits a relatively few. We live in a renowned potato growing area and every year the prices soar to £600+ a tonne and then the next year plummet to below £60 a tonne – how can that be sustainable? Virtually all the non-organic wheat and barley crops around us are ripened with glyphosphate weed killer. And a recent study has shown that 7 out of 10 people tested had traces of glyphosate in their urine. I don’t know about you but I would prefer to drink beer and eat bread that is not contaminated with weed killer. And the crazy thing is that the European tax-payer is subsiding this madness to the tune of 52 billion euros a year!
What styles of beer do you brew and what is your most popular beer?
We brew a range of beers from Blonde to an Oatmeal Stout, and whisky cask-aged beers. We have a beer festival at the brewery this weekend and have brewed a Heffe weissen, Berliner Weisse, Citra Saison, and Peat Smoked Porter amongst other beers. That said Blonde is still our best selling beer.
Will you be coming out with any new beers this year?
Yes, we have an Organic Gluten Free Session IPA to launch next month.
How much beer will you be brewing in 2015?
A lot more than we did in 2014.
The craft beer industry in the United States has grown significantly in the last 10 plus years. What is the craft beer scene like in Scotland currently?
Similar. It the same wherever you go. The beer buying public are moving away from bland mainstream brands and are more demanding and curious about what they are drinking.
The craft beer industry in the US is currently in a canning craze. Has the craft beer in cans craze reached Scotland yet? If it has will we see Black Isle Brewing Co. beers in cans soon?
Yes, it is the same here too, and when we have the space and can afford it we will be canning too.
If someone was coming to Scotland for a vacation and wanted to try a Black Isle Brewing Company beer where can they go to find one?
I recommend they come to the brewery. But there are also many bars, and shops that stock it.
If you could go on a beercation where would you go and why?
Bavaria and Franconia. I would take my wife and go in the early autumn with bicycles. We would start off in Bamburg and weave our way eating and drinking and exploring the countryside.