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Crafting out a new market

Press release   •   Jul 12, 2016 15:07 BST

VisitScotland has today, in partnership with Stewart Brewing, launched a Spirit of Scotland craft beer as the potential worth of Scotland’s growing craft beer industry to tourism was revealed. 

The Spirit of Scotland craft beer marks the release of new research by the national tourism organisation which reveals that the craft beer industry has the potential to capitalise on the food & drink tourism market, worth nearly £900* million a year to Scotland’s visitor economy. 

The new report, conducted in partnership with The Brewers Association of Scotland, highlights the potential craft beer has in enhancing the Scottish tourism experience. 

Consumer trends, identified by VisitScotland, such as authenticity, millennial markets, and provenance were also found to be mirrored in the craft beer industry.

These trends, which are already affecting consumer behaviour, leave ‘craft beer tourism’ perfectly placed to capitalise on the current interest in the food and drink sector.

With another recent study finding that 93% of visitors dined out in a restaurant, café or pub and almost half, sampled a local drink such as craft beer, gin or whisky, the market for ‘craft beer tourism’ could be hugely significant. 

The Spirit of Scotland craft beer, a hoppy summer pale ale, was brewed in Edinburgh based Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen to mark the release of the research and celebrates the craft beer industry’s #ScotSpirit.

From the guts and determination to start an independent brewery or the spark and soul in each exciting new product created, Scottish craft beer has a unique spirit all of its own. 

A UK first, Stewart Brewing’s brew-it-yourself facility has produced over 5,000 different beers since opening in 2013. 

To celebrate the success of VisitScotland’s Spirit of Scotland campaign so far, 200 bottles of the Spirit of Scotland craft beer will be gifted to who have demonstrated their #ScotSpirt most since the launch of the global campaign.

The Spirit of Scotland campaign was launched in February 2016 and is built on extensive research which shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit – whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people. Everyone who has shared their #ScotSpirit will become part of a special social movement. The award-winning campaign** has proved one of the most successful for VisitScotland in recent years. Since its launch on 10 February 2016 the campaign has celebrated:

  • Over 130,000 shares of #ScotSpirit (average 1000 per day)
  • Over 20 million views of Spirit of Scotland online campaign films
  • Delivering 576,000 business referrals representing £200m income for tourism businesses (+20%)
  • #ScotSpirit trending #2 in the UK and in top 20 worldwide on day of launch
  • Over 90 holidays secured through ‘generosity of spirit’ donations for disadvantaged families (373 people)

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“The rapid growth of Scotland’s exciting craft beer industry in recent years and the popularity of sampling local produce by visitors, creates a fantastic opportunity to ‘tap’ into a new market of ‘craft beer tourism’.

“It is clear to see from the research that there is real interest Scottish craft beer from across the globe, leaving the industry well placed to follow the likes of the whisky industry and other Scottish produce in becoming a real draw for visitors near and far.” 

Richard Yates, General Manager of The Brewers Association of Scotland, said:

Since its launch in 2015, The Brewers Association of Scotland (TBAS) has been working hard, in co-operation with stakeholders, to promote the value of the craft beer sector to the Scottish economy.

“Our strong relationship with Visit Scotland exemplifies this work. TBAS will drive an unprecedented opportunity for the whole industry to capitalise on, and respond to, the Visit Scotland research with targeted, relevant, technology based campaigns at today’s and tomorrow’s consumers to maximise the craft beer tourism opportunity for sector growth & employment.” 

Jo Stewart, Co-founder and owner of Stewart Brewing, said:

“We were delighted to work with VisitScotland on the Spirit of Scotland craft beer, which is a great way to mark the launch of an important piece of research for our industry. 

“We started our brewery in 2004 with the goal of producing the best beer we can to supply to our local Edinburgh pubs, so marketing and selling locally has always been at the core of what we are about.  We now supply over 500 outlets and work closely with many restaurants and bistros as having a local beer on the menu always adds value and attracts tourists.”

It is estimated there are around 130, current and planned, independent breweries in Scotland.

To read the full insight paper on the growth of craft beer and the Scottish tourism industry, visit

- ENDS -

* The Growth of Craft Beer and the Scottish Tourism Industry Topic Paper calculates that by combining total international and domestic market food and drink expenditure, the potential growth available for craft beer in Scotland to capitalise on totals £881 million.

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
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