BrewDog off-licence plan angers residents

The site of the proposed Brew Dog off-licence in Dundas Street. Picture: Toby Williams
The site of the proposed Brew Dog off-licence in Dundas Street. Picture: Toby Williams
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Plans by beer company BrewDog for a “BottleDog” off-licence in the Capital’s New Town have come under fire from residents, who have branded them “detrimental to health”.

Famous for launching the 18 per cent “Tokyo” beer – which contained six units of alcohol in a single 330ml bottle – the firm wants to open a retail operation in Dundas Street and has also applied for children’s access to its existing BrewDog bar in the Cowgate.

Promising “a new take on the bottle shop concept”, the New Town venture is set to feature innovations including tastings and educational events. Company bosses even wanted to host live music in a bid to draw as many customers as possible.

That element of the application has been withdrawn, with directors confirming that only recorded background music will be played.

But moves to increase BrewDog’s footprint in the Capital have still been criticised amid growing concern over the number of licensed premises in the New Town and across Edinburgh.

In their objection, Rhona and Fergus Cameron, who live next to the proposed off-licence, said: “The residents in this block have seen it all before.

“Noise from music, taster sessions, people standing outside drinking, urinating in basements, vomiting in the street and vandalism.

“The proposal in the operating plan to have recorded music throughout opening hours ... in an area which is cheek by jowl with our living accommodation would be detrimental to the health of ourselves and the residents in the immediate vicinity of the property.”

The bids – currently being considered by members of the city’s licensing board, who have agreed to carry out site visits – mark the latest stage in BrewDog’s rapid expansion since it was founded in 2007 by Fraserburgh duo James Watt and Martin Dickie.

Conservative councillor and licensing board member Nick Cook said: “I think BrewDog is recognised as being a successful company but we also have to strike a balance between that and supporting residents.”

He also said he had “concerns” over the firm’s bid for children’s access at the Cowgate bar, which he described as “alcohol-centric”.

“I do not think there was an indication they were going to make any considerable alterations to the nature of the operation,” he added.

But BrewDog bosses today hit back, insisting that they were responding to a growing interest in their business among families.

And they said their philosophy was about “education and transformation” rather than encouraging drinkers to consume as much as possible.

Stephen Hogan, of BrewDog, said: “Whilst our other bars’ licences permit children’s access to a certain time, BrewDog Edinburgh currently doesn’t so we are bringing this in line with the rest of our bar portfolio.

“With regards to the BottleDog application, it is created as a retail store not a bar, and whilst we’ve actually removed live music from the application, we will be playing low level background music as per the vast majority of retail stores.

“It will of course be subject to Edinburgh’s standard inaudibility condition, so there’s no need for noise worries.”