John Dunsmore, ex-CEO of Scottish & Newcastle and C&C Group, has founded a new craft brewery in his home city of Edinburgh. Combining the ‘head’ of a career at the UK’s biggest brewer with the ‘heart’ of a family-run start-up, the new brewery will bring Edinburgh inventiveness, open-mindedness and playfulness to the beer scene.
Housed in a converted industrial unit in west Edinburgh, Edinburgh Beer Factory is an unashamedly modern, urban microbrewery. For the Dunsmore family, Edinburgh is home and inspiration – the best of Scotland in all its creativity and international outlook – and ‘Factory’ is a tribute to two ‘commercial creatives’ and personal heroes, Andy Warhol and Tony Wilson, founder of Manchester’s Factory Records. The Dunsmores have excitedly followed the growth of craft beer, and when John’s experiences with innovative small food and drinks businesses and family-owned Fuller’s convinced him of the benefits of private ownership and start-up mentality, it was time to go it alone.
“Innovation can happen in big companies, but it happens despite being big, not because of it,” explained John Dunsmore. “I’ve been excited by the creativity and agility I’ve seen in the smaller companies I’ve been working with in the past few years; it’s spurred me on to create something from scratch. With a family-owned business there’s no compromise driven by external shareholder pressure; you can make the right decisions based on strong values and a long term perspective. Scotland can be great if it makes things happen, and this is exactly the right set-up to do just that: small and nimble; young and old; male and female.”
John’s wife Lynne and daughter Kirsty are also founding members of Edinburgh Beer Factory. They’re joined by fresh brewing talent from local Heriot-Watt university, Head Brewer David Kemp and Mike Meletopoulo; ex-Tennent’s and Harviestoun sales manager Gregor Harris; and colleague from HotHouse investments, Rosie Nicholson, herself from the family behind the historic Sunderland-based Vaux Breweries. Whether born and bred or (mostly) having adopted Edinburgh as home, the whole team has been inspired by Edinburgh’s creativity and cosmopolitanism; it’s that they hope to promote over thistle, tartan and bagpipes.Hence their unlikely brewery muse, Scots-Italian Eduardo Paolozzi. The Edinburgh-born inventor of Pop Art deserves better recognition, and Edinburgh Beer Factory hope to help achieve that in his home city and beyond. His eclectic and collaborative approach, international outlook and fascination with combining art and science sum up what the team are all about.
Their launch product is a tribute to this Great Scot. A reinvention of a beer often overlooked – or even sneered at – ‘Paolozzi’ is a 5.2 per cent lager based on a historic Munich style but created with contemporary Italian brewing technology. The result is an exceptionally refined beer with a perfect bitter-sweet balance and fabulously sparkling appearance. In Paolozzi’s words, it’s something “sublime in the everyday.”
Eduardo’s artwork ‘Illumination and the Eye’ is displayed on the bottle and fount, and EBF will be showcasing other artworks at the brewery when it opens next year to the public. The beer is endorsed by the Paolozzi Foundation, and the brewery will pay a charitable donation for every bottle and pint sold to promote Paolozzi’s work and ideas to the general public.
Adrian Barr-Smith, Trustee and Secretary, The Paolozzi Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to support Edinburgh Beer Factory in this project, which will help bring alive both the artwork and the ideas of Paolozzi in his native Edinburgh and beyond. Eduardo was fascinated by art meeting science, and he would have been quite amused by having a beer named after him.”
‘Paolozzi’ lager is launching in Edinburgh and Glasgow this month, with plans to expand across the UK over 2016. Edinburgh Beer Factory will open to the public in time for summer 2016, providing a visitor attraction for Edinburgh locals and international tourists, local employment and brewery-fresh beer.