The Art of Craft Beer
As the Edinburgh Beer Factory celebrate their first birthday, we take a look at their role in Scotland's cultural landscape
For those of you that haven't spotted the bright neon lights of the Edinburgh Beer Factory (EBF) while sitting on a tram heading for the airport, or for those of you who have and are wondering just what it's doing in an otherwise dull looking industrial estate, let us bring you up to speed.
EBF joined Scotland's craft brewing scene in October 2015 under the guidance of John Dunsmore, former CEO of brewing company, Scottish & Newcastle. An industrial unit, just 15 minutes from the city centre was converted by the Dunsmore team into a microbrewery, shop and cafe/bar and was named after the works of two of their heroes; Andy Warhol's New York Studio, The Factory and Tony Wilson's Manchester Factory Records. But that's not where their creative flair ends.
The team sees brewing as an art, taking inspiration from Scotland's inventiveness and creativity to create great tasting beer while simultaneously contributing to the arts and culture in their hometown. A visit to their factory is not just about understanding their brewing process, it's an insight into their way of modern thinking and a fine example of how a drinks company can contribute to our cultural landscape.
The company named their first beer after the Leith-born pioneer of Pop Art, Eduardo Paolozzi, an important influence to their product and ideas. EBF listened to his advice of combining art with science and bringing contrasting ideas together with ordinary objects, to create a lager which they strongly believe he would enjoy. 'Promoting the artwork and ideas of an underappreciated Great Scot is a mission of ours,' says Head of Marketing Kirsty Dunsmore, 'and besides promoting these in our marketing, we also pay a charitable donation to the Paolozzi Foundation for every beer sold.'
It's been a year since the launch of Paolozzi lager and in that short time they've managed to pick up a silver award for Best Lager at the Scottish Beer Awards 2016, a gold award from SIBA, and they were crowned a UK winner at the World Beer Awards. But it's not all about the taste of the beer; what an organisation does for the community, the environment and the cultural landscape are all important factors. And it was the contribution of EBF's state-of-the-art brewery that earned it a place as the only drinks manufacturer on this year's List Hot 100.
'It's a real thrill to have made the Hot 100 and a nice birthday present, given it's a year since we launched Paolozzi lager', Kirsty tells us. 'We're in among people we admire, friends, customers and partners too – we work with the likes of Neu! Reekie!, LeithLate, the Pitt, Biscuit Factory, Summerhall and Edinburgh Food Studio.'
The art inspired brewers have recently released a limited edition gift set of Paolozzi print labelled lager bottles with matching beermats, glassware and posters. With every pack sold, EBF continue to make a donation to the Paolozzi Foundation. They've also promised plans to expand their visitor centre to a fuller taproom and events space, so keep an eye out for those neon lights popping up in our cultural calendar very soon.