Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has announced a new partnership with C&C Group to sell and distribute its range of beers across the on-trade in the UK and Ireland. C&C will also take an 8% stake in Innis & Gunn.

Innis Gunn Original

Innis & Gunn’s beers will continue to be produced and packaged at C&C’s Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow as part of a renewed agreement, as well as at Innis & Gunn’s Brewery in Perth.

A long-term incentive scheme is also in place which will make a number of additional shares available to C&C, based on performance targets being met.

The agreement builds upon the long-term manufacturing relationship between the two companies, which began back in 2010. Since then, Innis & Gunn has grown to become the number one craft beer in Scotland, a top three craft brand in the UK, as well as a leading craft brand in Sweden and Canada.

In 2020, Innis & Gunn was recognised in a YouGov poll of drinkers across the country as the UK’s most recommended beer brand, and was recently awarded best lager in the 2020 Scottish Beer Awards.

Under the new partnership, as Innis & Gunn starts to significantly increase brand presence and investment in England, C&C will use its position as the largest independent beverage-alcohol distributor in the UK and Ireland to increase the distribution and availability of Innis & Gunn beers in the on-trade, wholesale, and free-trade channels, through its distribution businesses Matthew Clark in the UK and Bulmers Ireland. 

Innis & Gunn will continue to be responsible for all brand marketing and for sales and distribution to national pub chains, the off-trade, and current international markets. 

‘Solid foundations from which to build’

Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder of Innis & Gunn, said: “At a time when we are seeing consumer demand for our beers increasing, in fact becoming the sixth largest Scottish drinks brand in our home market in 2020, this is a key next step in our growth strategy. C&C’s strength in the on-trade across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and our long-term relationship, means we have solid foundations from which to build.

“C&C is the right partner with the right platform to help us accelerate our growth into these channels and seek to replicate the success the brand has enjoyed in Scotland. The partnership will also create immediate synergies, enabling us to re-direct additional capital behind marketing and new product development. 
 
“We are retaining our independence and gaining a new distribution partner which can help us to introduce our brand to a much wider audience. The new manufacturing agreement leaves all options on the table to allow us to build our Edinburgh brewery when the time is right and when there is less uncertainty in the market caused by the current covid-19 pandemic.” 
 
Kenny Gray, managing director Scotland at Tennent’s (owned by C&C Group), added: “This new partnership with Innis & Gunn reflects well on our brand distribution model, and it is exciting to welcome them into our portfolio. They will be a strong and complementary addition which, no doubt, will be well received by our customers, who are increasingly seeking an extended range. 

“As an equity partner, our interests are naturally aligned to grow the brand. To that end, we will use our platforms to gain access to the larger UK and Irish markets, as well as seeking to collaborate in other new international markets where we see opportunities.” 

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