Shetland’s new brewery has opened in Lerwick with a lager and a beer already in production.
Both brands are now in some local shops and could be available in pubs later this week.
The Lerwick Brewing Company is run by the Mercer brothers, of gas firm Rearo Supplies, and is housed in the company’s old gas depot on the town’s Old North Road.
The venture was the idea of self-employed chemical engineer and real ale fan John Mercer, who, together with brothers Graham and Jimmy, was keen to develop beer with a Shetland brand. Now, said John, things are moving quickly, with the company advertising for a trainee brewer and possibly more staff about to be taken on.
The brothers’ vision has become a reality with sale of their first products, a lager, named 60 Degrees North, and beer, Skipper’s Ticket. Both were launched with minimal publicity at the Skeld Regatta and at Mareel in time for the Stiff Little Fingers gig.
John said: “I’m delighted it [the brewery] is finally up and running. It’s not in full flow yet but things are happening very quickly and hope our beers will be more widely available soon.
“It’s been a couple of years since we started with our plans, and personally it’s been a dream as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a beer buff.”
Company manager Rhanna Tuberville said the brewery was “gauging opinion” but everything was looking positive for both brands. And she said Shetland, with its soft water and cool climate, seemed to be the ideal place for making lager.
Rhanna said: “We’ve got [both brands of] the beer into a few local country shops this week and a lot of people have tried it and liked it. They’ve been surprised how moreish it is, it’s quite easy drinking.” She described the lager as Pilsner-style and the beer as “amber, rounded full-bodied and not too heavy.”
The wholesalers are now taking the beers to a wider range of shops and hope to be supplying pubs around the isles by the end of the week.
Both 60 Degrees North and Skipper’s Ticket are carbonated and sold in 330ml bottles. If the brewery starts working with kegs, which it hopes to do, more staff will be taken on. Meanwhile, Rhanna said: “I hope people in Shetland will like it and support us.”
• More in Friday’s Shetland Times.