Brewery owner ‘may be forced to leave Bute’

Bute Brew Co's owner says he may have to move the company to the mainland in order to find premises large enough for his expanding business.
Bute Brew Co's owner says he may have to move the company to the mainland in order to find premises large enough for his expanding business.

The owner of Bute’s brewery has warned that he may have to leave the island to find premises large enough for his expanding business.

Aidan Canavan of Bute Brew Co says Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is unable to support his expansion plans because he doesn’t own the premises where his business is currently based.

He also says he’s asked Argyll and Bute Council about buying one of the authority’s redundant properties in Rothesay - but has been told the council is unwilling to sell because “they don’t know what they want to do with the site”.

Mr Canavan said: “Bute Brew Co has expanded by increasing our fermentation capability to keep up with the demand experienced last year.

“We have also just invested in a bottling system so we can bottle on site. We have two employees starting this month. One is our first ever salesperson.

“HIE have voiced an interest in supporting the business as they can see further potential. But they also stated they cannot support the business in its current location as there is no security on the tenure.

“It’s very difficult to invest in a new or growing business on Bute because there are so few landowners, and most business people want to own their own property.

“If we weren’t an island, moving ten or 12 miles to a new base wouldn’t be an issue, but I’m now looking at having to move off the island to secure premises.”

A council spokesperson said: “The council has made and continues to make significant investment to grow Bute’s economy. Through our successful townscape heritage initiative (THI) project we repaired and renovated a number of buildings in the town centre, safeguarding local jobs, as well as creating a new business unit in a prominent cap site in Guildford Square.

As we move forward with the development of our new Townscape Heritage regeneration scheme we will be working with partners such as the Alliance for Action and HIE to look at what is already there in terms of business premises, what people want, what the demand it, what is needed, what the costs are and so on, both in terms of start-ups and businesses looking to expand.”