A Harris-based brewery has successfully rolled out its craft beer across the Outer Hebrides following access to a £22,000 funding package from Business Gateway.
Loomshed, which was officially opened in August 2019 by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, is the latest idea from established entrepreneurs Jamie McGowan and Rob McKinnon who identified a gap in the food and drink offering of the Outer Hebrides.
With a focus on creating jobs for young islanders, Loomshed hired Calum Bennet as Head Brewer following his graduation from Herriot Watt University, where he gained his MSc in brewing and distilling.
Loomshed has launched with two beers, an IPA and a craft lager, which pay tribute to their island heritage and reflect Scottish and British brewing traditions, including British hops, Scottish barley and Hebridean water.
In order to launch their ambitious new business, the pair turned to Business Gateway for one-to-one business advice, networking opportunities and advice to scale up their offering.
Loomshed received £22,000 from the Comhairle’s Grants for Growth Scheme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which was used to invest in essential equipment and develop a cost-efficient production system. It also enabled access to industry experts which helped the team facilitate the design and development of Loomshed’s product and facility.
Rob McKinnon, co-founder of Loomshed said, “We are enormously grateful to Business Gateway, as the funding we accessed gave us the ability to scale up our operations and allowed us to work with craft brewery experts to develop our product range.
“There is demand for homegrown products across the Outer Hebrides, from both locals and tourists, and we are confident that there is scope to expand into food and drink categories as Loomshed grows.”
Calum Bennet, Head Brewer at Loomshed, said, “It has been a brilliant learning curve establishing the brewery, creating the range, and seeing our product become available in bars and restaurants across the islands, where it’s been warmly welcomed.”
Derek Maclean, business adviser at Business Gateway said, “Regardless of whether a business is just starting out or is already established, there are always potential opportunities for Business Gateway to provide support. In this case, Loomshed was able to access a significant funding package that has enabled them to accelerate the growth of their business and expand the food and drink offering of the islands.”
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