Isle of Skye Brewing Co owner Kenny Webster on export trail after Wooha deal

SCOTTISH Craft Beer entrepreneur Kenny Webster is aiming for export growth after purchasing the non-administration business, assets and goodwill of Wooha Brewing Company, based in Kinloss in Moray.

Mr Webster, who also owns Isle of Skye Brewing Co and Stirling-based Black Wolf Brewery and acquired Wooha through his North Coast Brewing Co vehicle, has started to rehire former company employees. Kinloss.

The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, was announced yesterday by Wooha co-directors Tom MacLennan and Iain Fraser, partners of FRP.

Mr. Webster also highlighted the opportunities to sell Wooha beers in supermarkets, exploiting the relationships with buyers in this sector established through the Isle of Skye and Black Wolf businesses.

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He noted that all of Wooha’s workforce, which totaled around 13 when brewer Kinloss went bankrupt in March, had been laid off by directors by the time he bought the business, assets and business.

Mr Webster said he had rehired two employees and added: “Those who still don’t have jobs – we are interviewing them next week with a view to reinstating them. I would probably look to bring back six or eight. [in total]. ”

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He highlighted the success of Wooha founder Heather McDonald in building exports from the Kinloss Brewery. He noted that Ms. McDonald had left Wooha.

When asked what attracted him to the acquisition, Mr. Webster replied, “I think the bottom line is that Heather did a really good job getting into the export market and into 10 different countries. ”

He added: “We export a little but not as much as Wooha. That means we can add Skye and Black Wolf to that as well. ”

Asked about reopening the trade with the easing of restrictions, Mr Webster said: “Skye is already flying.”

He noted that Isle of Skye Brewing Co’s beer sales in May were only 10% lower than the same month in 2019, and added, “I’m delighted with that.”

When Wooha came into administration in March, Fraser said, “The company had grown rapidly in recent years, was well funded, and had a clear strategy and positioning in a crowded market. The company has unfortunately been badly affected by a combination of Covid, the contraction of its main markets and the Brexit bureaucracy.

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