The Fyne Ales brewery shares
the rural Achadunan estate with
a working pastoral farm.
Our goal as a brewery is to be a contributor to the ecosystem of the estate — the farm, the brewery and the land all working together to ensure that all three can thrive and prosper for decades to come.
Though historically a mixed-purpose farm, growing corn in addition to rearing animals, when Jonny and Tuggy Delap returned to the estate in 2000, their priority was to establish a sustainable farm that would compliment the brewery they were installing in one of their old buildings.
Tuggy, having grown up with highland cows on the estate, was keen to bring them back to the estate. The farm started modestly with four cows and one heifer—a small herd, but enough to consume the spent grain produced during the brewing process. Fyne Ales first ever brew, Highlander, is named after Tuggy’s love of the shaggy-haired beasts—if you ask her she’ll tell you that Fyne Ales is first and foremost a grain production facility for her animals, and that the beer is just a byproduct.
Over the past 16 years, the brewery has grown, and so has the farm’s herds. We now have 27 highland cows, accompanied by two bulls—one shorthorn beef bull, Freddy, and a highland bull, Seamus. It’s been several years since full-highland calves have been reared on the estate, so we’re excited to have introduced Seamus to the herd in early 2018.
We also have around a hundred sheep – a mix of North Country Cheviots and Scottish Mules, which are bred with Suffolk Tups to ensure they’re hardy enough for the chilly Argyll winters. In the last few years the flock has been thinned slightly, and will continue to be as the demands of the latest addition to the estate have grown.
The most recent arrival on the farm is a growing herd of red deer. Glen Fyne and the estate is frequently visited by wild deer throughout the year – if you visit the Brewery Tap there’s a good chance you’ll see some in an adjacent field. In late 2015, we established a herd of around a hundred dear in the glen, joining the cows on the spent-grain diet and thriving on the estate. The herd has grown to over two hundred over the past few years and we anticipate it growing further as we invest more time and money in the deer as a key part of the estate’s activities.
The meat produced by the farm is distributed around Argyll to restaurants, cafes and other food producers – the beef you’ll find in the pies on sale in our brewery tap has been reared on the estate, and you’ll find fresh cuts to take home in one of the Brewery Tap fridges semi-regularly during the year.
In addition to rearing our own animals on the farm, we’ve also undertaken a number of other initiatives to ensure we are an active, positive contributor our local ecosystem.
In 2012-13, we invested in a river-restocking project for River Fyne, to bolster dwindling numbers of wild salmon caused by over-fishing and shortly after started a woodland creation programme with support from the European Agricultural Fund for European Development.
Our Brewery Tap and offices are powered by solar panels installed on the roof of the old farm buildings, and when designing our new brewery, we invested significant capital in an environmentally-friendly effluent processing plant to ensure that all liquid byproducts of the brewing process are ecologically neutral before being released.