Scotland’s first alcohol-free brewery seeks crowdfunding for product launch

It is an industry which has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with craft beer manufacturers popping up throughout Scotland.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 7:05 am
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 8:05 am
Sonja Mitchell, a keen sailor, beer lover and mother-of-three, has launched Jump Ship Brewing

But the latest firm aiming to corner the market has a major difference – it is Scotland’s first alcohol-free brewery.

Edinburgh-based Jump Ship brewing company has launched a crowd-funding campaign to produce its first non-alcoholic beer on a commercial scale.

Founder Sonja Mitchell created the beer after finding that, after having three children, her tolerance to deal with hangovers was not what it used to be. Now Ms Mitchell, a former marketing professional, is looking for funding to help cover the cost of its first production of a beer which is also vegan and gluten-free.

Ms Mitchell said: “I’ve always loved beer and dreamed of running a brewery. There’s a huge trend towards people (myself included) drinking less alcohol but I didn’t want to miss out on the taste of a good beer. For years, the alcohol-free choices on offer have been pretty dismal and while it’s starting to improve, there’s still a long way to go.

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“People are used to great beers with big personalities, and they shouldn’t have to compromise on that just because they are looking to cut back on alcohol.

“Crowdfunding and the RBS Back Her Business initiative is a great option to get me the final investment needed to scale up production. I have been overwhelmed by the response to our low-alcohol beer, with a buyer for one of the UK’s biggest alcohol-free online retailers describing it as the best he’s ever tasted. We also have some of Edinburgh’s top craft beer pubs and independent retailers ready to stock it.”

The crowdfunding bid aims to secure £10,000 with up to £5,000 match funding coming from Royal Bank of Scotland’s Back Her Business initiative if Jump Ship can raise £5,000.

For £15, investors can be part of the launch party, while £500 secures a year’s supply of Jump Ship beer – 24 cans of the brewery’s latest products delivered each month. Meanwhile, for those with a love of sailing, £1,500 will bag a private
dining experience for up to eight guests aboard Fingal, a luxury yacht hotel moored in Leith.

All the beers produced by the company are less than 0.5 per cent ABV – about the same alcohol content as a large ripe banana. The first beer is described as “a crisp, refreshing lager with a lovely zing of malt and hops”.

To ensure minimal environmental impact, Jump Ship Brewing is selecting cans which are lighter to transport, reducing carbon emissions and making them easier to recycle.

The firm will brew on energy efficient kit and water usage is monitored carefully, while any leftover grain from brewing goes to a farm to feed their animals.

Malcolm Buchanan, MD of Corporate and Commercial Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland said: “We’re delighted to see innovative and disruptive start-ups like Jump Ship get off the ground via our Back Her Business programme. The purpose of the initiative is to help women like Sonia turn their ideas into reality, because backing female entrepreneurs helps everyone – the economy, the start-up and the business ecosystem, and in the end, the wider consumer.”

Scotland’s beer industry has boomed. CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide says there are now 127 breweries, including 18 new ones in the past year.