MP seeks answers from council on brewery closure

Aidan Canavan, owner of Bute Brew Co., announced on Monday that the business is to close.
Aidan Canavan, owner of Bute Brew Co., announced on Monday that the business is to close.

Argyll and Bute’s MP has written to the council’s chief executive seeking answers on yesterday’s shock announcement that Bute’s micro-brewery is set to close.

As we reported earlier today, ‘Bute Brew Co.’ will close its doors after discussions on moving to Rothesay’s former slaughterhouse, currently owned by Argyll and Bute Council, resulted in the authority saying the building was not for sale.

Aidan Canavan, owner of Bute Brew Co., told us earlier today: “I was led to believe that premises would become available, possibly the old slaughterhouse, but got a call from Business Gateway on Monday to say the council won’t sell it.

“If the council has plans for it, fine, but they’ve not even offered me an alternative.”

Mr Canavan continued: “The support on the island has been great. People here are proud of the island and people elsewhere have some attachment to it and through that we built a brand which was successful. It’s a fantastic place, but it hasn’t the opportunities other places do.

“The sad thing is eventually all you’ll have living on the island are retirees.”

Brendan O’Hara MP told The Buteman: “I spoke to Aidan at the brewery yesterday to offer whatever assistance I can with the hope, even at this late stage, that this awful situation could be averted.

“At a time when Bute can least afford it, yet again we face losing a local business and a family from the island who are making a huge contribution to the community.

“I have written to our new Chief Executive at Argyll and Bute Council, expressing my deep frustration that this situation has been allowed to get to a stage where a successful local business may close resulting in a further loss of local employment and industry.

“I have asked the council to explain exactly how the situation has arisen, that unused premises can lie empty and inactive for so long when there was a perfectly viable local business, capable of growth, desperately in need of it in order to expand. I understand there was support for the brewery project from all local Bute councillors, Dick Walsh and the wider community.

“We need to know why Argyll and Bute Council have not acted with the community on this?”

* We contacted Argyll and Bute Council to ask for a comment but at the time of writing have not received one.