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Brewing up interest in South Queensferry

Lynda Hamilton reports on The Ferry Brewery - the first brewery in the Ferry since 1851, that’s going from from strength to strength.

Craft brewing is alive and well again in South Queensferry – more than a century after the town produced its last ale.

Thanks to Mark and Jan Moran, who set up The Ferry Brewery at Bankhead Farm Steading on the Rosebery Estate earlier this year, the town now has at least half a dozen artisan labels to shout about – some of which may well be contenders for next year’s Scottish Beer Awards.

The husband-and-wife team opened the brewery in June to coincide with their first saleable batch of beer and have recently started supplying their core ales to a number of Edinburgh and Lothians outlets – 175 years after the last Queensferry brewery closed its doors.

Their specialities include Ferry Fair, a golden pale ale inspired by the annual August week-long Queensferry Fair; 40/- Fine, a traditional Scottish ale which gets its name from the 40 shilling fine payable by anyone who sold beer on the Sabbath in the 17th century, and the aptly-named Ferry Witches Brew, a reddish copper ale whose moniker is derived from two locals who were later charged and convicted for witchcraft after selling beer on the Sabbath.

The keen brewers, who returned to Queensferry, Mark’s former home, in 2012 following a stint in the US where they met and married, have also recently supplied the Ferry’s pubs with a limited batch of The Burryman Ale, a dark amber beer with aromas of caramel malt and a hint of lemon, which promptly sold out during the Ferry Fair within a couple of days.

As well as supplying to a number of popular outlets in and around the Ferry, such as The Railbridge Bistro, Inchcolm Inc, Newton Arms, Craigie’s Farm and Conifox Stables Bistro & Restaurant, the Morans are already established in a number of pubs in Edinburgh and are currently working on a number of new ales, including Ferry Stout, Ferry Crossing and Queen Maggie.

They have also crafted a Loony Brew Ale for Queensferry’s annual Loony Dook celebrations on New Year’s Day 2017.

When asked about the secret to the Ferry Brewery’s early success, Mark, who has been avidly brewing – albeit for personal use – since he was a teenager, attributed the surge in orders to the quality of the beer and attention to detail.

“We’re making the beer people want to drink,” he says. “We undertook a lot of market research before taking the plunge and had been planning our production since

“We spoke to anyone who would listen,” says Florida-born Jan. “We carried out a lot of tastings, with both friends and strangers but I’m pleased to say that, throughout it all, we only received one negative comment. Everyone has been very welcoming and encouraging.”

Although, they are currently happily supplying craft beers to the on-trade, the Morans have big plans to expand – eventually supplying to the off-trade, running their own on-site shop and offering brewery tours and tasting sessions.

To find out more, visit The Ferry Brewery website or follow The Ferry Brewery on Twitter: @FerryBrewery

The Ferry Brewery’s craft ales will be on the menu at a Cheese, Beer and Cider Tasting Event to be held at Craigie’s Farm and Deli on Friday, October 28. For
more information, email moyna@craigies.co.uk or visit the Craigie’s website here.

You might also like: The Ferry Brewery – Scottish Land & Estates Rosebery Estate Helping it Happen case study

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