Loch Earn

Arran Brewery’s Loch Earn Cider Shack is to start producing its first ciders before Easter, managing director Gerald Michaluk has announced.

The Cider Shack part of the brewery, hotel and visitor centre in St Fillans, Perthshire, on the banks of Loch Earn, will open at Easter, along with the restaurants, bars and coffee shop, with a limited number of the 36 bedrooms also being scheduled to open.

However, the lager brewery, apple brandy distillery and visitor shop will not open this year due to an error on the land registry title which has caused the development to be seriously delayed. The Lands Tribune has now made a judgement, though, and while not in favour of the development, does clarify the situation and allow amendments to be made to the brewery’s plans.

Gerald said: “I thought when you get a title this was a guarantee of your boundaries. Well apparently not, and this error on the part of the registrar, admitted in the tribunal, means we are having to find an alternative location for our bonded store and will restrict our available parking, all of which is going to add considerably to the project costs. In addition, we are considerably out of pocket on legal costs, having lost the case.

“This is, however, a spectacular site and we remain committed to opening our brewery in due course. All these legal actions — the second we have lost over the site — is just costing us money, diverting management attention and delaying the development. In total, with the two land disputes, we have spent over £40,000 in legal costs, lost two years income from the site, and have had to bear the costs, all of which could have been spent on the development instead.”

The brewery is now recruiting staff in Perthshire for all departments. In total, 14 news jobs are being created this year in a village of around 100 households.