I love Scotland. I studied in Fife in the mid 1990s. I have Scottish friends. I’ve made numerous motorbike trips to the outer (and inner) wilds of Scotland to experience its cracking roads, stunningly beautiful countryside and enjoy a bit of craic with friendly natives from the Cairngorms, Argyll, Hebrides, Inverness and everywhere in between. And what’s the best plan after riding a couple of hundred miles through the stunning Highlands to your accommodation? Why, let me think… is the answer… heading to the local pub for a well deserved couple of jars of local beer? Damn right it is, give that man a gold star! Whether it’s small breweries like Moulin (Pitlochrie) or Colonsay (Isle of Colonsay) or a more familiar name such as Williams Brothers (Alloa) or Fyne Ales (Argyll), I’d rather have a Scottish beer while in Scotland. Makes sense.
|Eilean Donan Castle (used for Highlander film)|
I also enjoy many Scottish brews at home and in selected pubs in the greater Belfast area. But with the Scottish Independence vote looming, what would happen if there’s a breakup of the union? As Scotland would no longer be part of the EU, what would this mean for pricing of Scottish beers? I recently read a motorbike magazine article asking valid questions about border control, insurance premiums etc so what would happen to the beer world? And lets get this correct from the outset – this is a non-political question not about the whys and wherefores of the UK. It’s a straight up, genuine concern that if Scotland was to break from the UK, would that make life worse for us as UK drinkers?
Speaking to brewer Angus MacRuary of Isle of Skye Brewing Company (creators of the very tasty Skye Gold – made with porridge oats), he’s hopeful that if it did happen, little would change regards exporting of Scottish beers to the UK.
“Importing beer from Scotland would be the same as importing from any other country, the only difference being the paperwork required between the EU and the rest of the world. It may be that the admin cost of this will add slightly to the price but the paperwork is not arduous so I wouldn’t anticipate that.” Angus added the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign said they would look into the issue but have yet to get back to him.
I also contacted ‘Yes Scotland’ and ‘Better Together’ but haven’t had any reply. Political types, huh?
Williams Brothers Brewing, makers of big sellers in NI such as Fraoch Heather Ale, Joker IPA and Grozet, say it’s hard to predict what will happen to prices. “Economic factors would suggest prices would stay comparable with UK. An independent Scotland would want to keep as much trade and sales links in the UK as possible.”
So maybe there’s not that much to be worried about? Perhaps my fear should be turned towards having to deal with potential fare hikes when my bike and I board the ferry in anticipation of another rip-roaring blast along the A82 through Glencoe?