The story of Innis and Gunn, the barrel aged beer pioneers based in Perthshire begins in 2002. Dougal Gunn Sharp was asked by distiller William Grant to brew a beer to mature in, and flavour, its bourbon barrels. The goal was originally to impart new flavours on Williams Grants Ale Cask Reserve whisky.
The beer was supposed to be discarded. Luckily for us all, the brewers all agreed that the barrel ageing had an unexpectedly virtuous effect on the beer. Innis and Gunn was born as they brought Innis and Gunn ‘The Original’ Barrel Aged to market in 2013. The process however has changed somewhat, instead of the beer going into barrels, the barrels now go into the beer.
The beer was a hit, thriving in the export market. Innis and Gunn were one of the early forerunners in the Scottish ‘Craft’ scene alongside the likes of Stewart Brewing that helped paved the way for the likes of BrewDog in 2007 and Tempest Brewing Co in 2010.
From the beginning the company looked to expand its range of beers, adding to its roster an ever-evolving set of stablemates for the original barrel aged beer. It wasn’t until 2013 that permanent Lager and IPA styles were added. Innis and Gunn Lager beer soon became the fastest growing lager in Scotland.
While the beers are eternally popular in Scotland, you may be surprised to here 1/5th of all its beers head to Canada. By 2009, as well as hitting 5 million bottles sold for the first time, the barrel aged was the best-selling British bottled beer in Canada and number two in Sweden.
The company has gone from strength to strength, there was a management buy-out in 2008 from William Grant and Sons. The business is now family-owned. They’ve pushed on, opening a number of bars under the Innis and Gunn name in Dundee, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Glasgow.
In 2016, as the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign, they raised £3 million to purchase Inveralmond Brewery in Perthshire where they are now based. This has laid the foundations for what they hope will be more people enjoying their beer in the years to come than ever before.
The brewers have right to be confident in that, in France, almost 600,000 bottles of Innis & Gunn beer were sold in their first year selling to the nation. They are also in talks to open bars overseas.
Despite the excitement of conquering the export markets, its experimentation and new beer recipes that thrill at its new Perth brewery. We stock 6 of the results, all of which will be on show at out Boutique Beers event this November.
Of course, there is the classic; Innis & Gunn Original Oak Aged has flavours of luxurious malt and toffee giving way to mellow oak with vanilla overtones. Its flavour finds favour with brewing juries, blind tasting panels and barflies alike. The taste is incredibly smooth with a light hop fruitiness balanced by the orange peel citrus character.
In our range, you’ll also find the refreshing Helles-style lager and the smooth hoppy flavour of its session IPA. And while these beers are must tries if you’re coming to our beer event, don’t miss out on some of their more unusual brews.
Innis & Gunn Rum Finish is matured over oak heartwood infused with specially selected rums, this results in a beer that is spicy, full-bodied and a lively sparring partner for any beer lover at 6.8%. While Innis & Gunn Gunpowder IPA uses Mandarina hops to impart zesty hop aromas of citrus and lychee. The hop bitterness is balanced by a smooth sweetness from the extra pale and Munich malts, delicious.
I know we haven’t got Christmas over and done with yet, but Innis & None, as well as being a nice play on words, is a delicious alcohol-free citrus pale ale with a big hop bitterness you may not expect to find in a zero beer. It’s all nicely balanced with a touch of sweetness and infused with the added goodness of Ginseng and Vitamin C. Dry January doesn’t need to be soda and lime.
All in all, the future looks good for the Perthshire brewers, I’m sure we will be seeing much more from them in the years to come. If you want to see more of them then do join us at our Boutique Beers event this November in Glasgow.
You can find more information about Innis and Gunn here. If you want to stock Innis and Gunn, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your beer range is a success, from free menu design and print services to barware.