We are incredibly proud of our Head Brewer, Craig Scotland, winning Brewer of the Year at the Scottish Beer Awards 2020. Read more about him and his journey at Stewart Brewing.
Craig’s interest in brewing started in his teenage years when home brewing was a bonding hobby with his dad. Together, they would brew special beers for family parties and weddings. When it came time to leave school, Craig had not yet realised he could make a career out of his home brewing hobby so went off to Edinburgh Napier University to obtain a degree in Hospitality Management.
During university and after graduation, he spent time putting his degree to use and working in the industry, eventually working his way to an Assistant Manager post at The Golf Tavern, a bustling Edinburgh pub popular with students. Perhaps it was being around all those students that got Craig thinking about going back to university and by this time, a career in brewing seemed on the cards when he discovered Heriot-Watt Universities MSc Brewing and Distilling course.
Whilst working on his master’s degree, Craig’s journey with us at Stewart Brewing began. Taking a part-time job in our brewery shop, Craig also was keen to help wherever possible on our bottling line and through hosting ‘Meet the Maker’ events in pubs across Scotland. He also worked with us for his master project researching and developing the feasibility into producing gluten-free beers on a commercial scale.
Once graduated in 2014 (with a Distinction, we should note), Craig was promoted to Craft Beer Kitchen Manager, looking after our brew-it-yourself facilities that were the first of its kind in the UK at that time. With Craig’s determination and hard work, it did not take long before he was promoted again into the main production department as a Brewer. Cut to a year and a half and two further promotion later, Craig officially became our Head Brewer in October 2016.
Since then Craig has become an incredibly valued member of our small but mighty team at Stewart Brewing, heading up a production team of 11 people and producing over 15,000 hectolitres of beer a year.
During his time with us Craig has been an instrumental part of our success. He was part of the team that won Scottish Brewery of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and Product Development Team of the Year in 2017 and 2019. This award means a lot to Craig as “consistency and innovation are what makes a good brewery”.
Speaking of innovation, Craig has also been at the forefront of creating our Project 7 series; a range of limited edition, experimental beers. We are now on our 18th beer to be released since its launch in 2018 and Craig is involved in all aspects of the launch, from recipe creation and trial brewing to the beer name and can design.
Craig has also contributed to our successful growth through our off-trade sales, by ensuring we can fulfil more contracts than ever before through managing a complicated brew and packaging plan and taking our beers further afield with Export listings. Without Craig’s input to ensure our beers are unique, of the highest quality and stock levels are maintained, we would be unable to grow at the rate we do.
In addition to the main brewery, Craig is also part of the team that leads our Natural Selection Brewing project in partnership with Heriot Watt University and the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. This is a collaborative project between four ICBD Masters students and the team at Stewart Brewing, with the objective being to design a beer brand and recipe, and complete the production, sales and marketing. The project gives students the vocational and practical skills, in addition to the theoretical understanding required to enter the workplace as expert Brewers. Craig normally takes on the mentoring of the Brewer student, but after being in the role for several years, he has lots of insight into all aspects of the project and is hands-on in providing any support required.
Craig plays a massive part in our team and contributes to the business in so many ways. Not only does he juggle a brew and packaging schedule of 15,000 hectolitres per year, manages a team of 11, orders in all of our raw materials, constantly comes up with new recipes, keeps us in check with our paperwork and documentation for Audits, carries out workplace and health & safety training and of course does a little a bit of admin here or there.
The impact that releasing our Project 7 range has had on the business cannot be ignored, and Craig’s hard work is helping to build the brewery reputation. Not only has he helped with building for the future he has managed to also juggle the demands of our long-term customers by keeping the supply of our staple cask line constant. With Craig’s help we have been able to adopt the best of both worlds; the new craft beer community and the traditional craft ale pubs who were at the forefront of our business when starting in 2004.
As one of our longest-serving employees, working his way from part-time Shop Assistant to Head Brewer, he has made his mark at every level of the business and is a highly respected and appreciated member of our team who truly deserves to be awarded for all he has achieved.