It was the blend of creative crowds in Glasgow that encouraged Greg Wells to bring a craft beer festival to the cultural hub at SWG3. Art and music overlap with the independent food and drink community among these warehouse performance spaces, studios and start-up business units by the Clyde. Now, thousands of visitors will arrive across 8 and 9 July to meet the makers behind their favourite independent beers.

Glasgow brewers like Brewgooder, Hidden Lane and Overtone will be part of a strong Scottish presence that includes Fyne Ales, Pilot and Moonwake. There will be craft beers from across the UK and beyond with names like Hackney Brewery, New Zealand Beer Collective and Tiny Rebel represented.  

“We have always loved Glasgow as a city” Greg says, “you have the events infrastructure, a thriving beer scene, the arts scene is bubbling away, incredible food and a cool, creative vibe that connects with what’s happening with craft beer in Scotland.”

Greg founded We Are Beer with Daniel Sylvester ten years ago, starting a festival in London before expanding to other cities and building up relationships in Scotland through events in Edinburgh.

The new Glasgow festival includes a DJ line-up led by Optimo and food from Glasgow burger specialists El Perro Negro alongside toastie street food trader Babos and local pop-up pizza name Beirm.

“Craft beer takes hold in creative cities with a good community spirit and Glasgow is perfect for that” Greg says.

One of the characteristics of the craft beer scene in Scotland is its capacity to attract dreamers. People who see the chance for a business that brings an attractive lifestyle and an opportunity to build a brand that reflects their personality. A cross-pollination of ideas is driven by people from different backgrounds .

“As an example, Fierce Beer in Aberdeen was formed by two pals from the oil industry, they were engineering led people who found their way into the entrepreneurial side” Greg says. “You find that a lot of people starting a brewery have a food or arts background.

“Design is an important part of how people approach craft beer and you will meet the type of folk that might have been illustrating album covers in another era but they find themselves in this industry. At the festival, you will meet the characters behind the beer and it is their story as much as what you are drinking that you can take away from the event.”  

Tempest Brewery will be at the festival, formed when Gavin and Annika Meiklejohn moved to Scotland, taking inspiration from Canadian brew pubs and New Zealand hospitality. A ten-barrel plant in a disused dairy in Kelso supplied local bars with the brews gaining a following then finding interest from other parts of the country. 

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Their location in the Borders has influenced the brewery’s development. “In contrast to a lot of our peers with industrial units in big cities, we are based in the foothills of the Eildon Hills, surrounded by abundant natural beauty” marketing manager Neil Blackburn says. “The team are no strangers to the local bike trails. We place a lot of emphasis on the ingredients for the beer, ensuring we only use the best produce. If it’s from Scotland, even better.”

Preparing for their debut at the Glasgow Craft Beer Festival, Neil say their selection will have a summer feel. “Seasonality in beer is really important to us and for July that means the focus turns to fruit beers. Our Blackcurrant, Tropical and Strawberry Sours are in high demand in our taproom. We’re launching a summer IPA. There’s a good chance some of these brews will be making their way to SWG3 for the festival weekend.”