recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I'm Dougal. I've been making beer for 30 years. I founded my own brewery Innis & Gunn 16 years ago & will soon start building one of Scotland's biggest breweries - AMA.

As the title says - we're an independent craft brewery - we're available in 32 countries & we're the number 1 craft lager in Scotland, our home country & the no 1 imported craft beer in Canada.

This week we launched a crowdfunding campaign - it's our 3rd - this one is called Beer Money (we tip our collective hats to r/beermoney). And unveiled plans for building Edinburgh's biggest brewery in over 150 years - you can see some images here:

I'm here for the next few hours so AMA! Proof:

[Edit 18:48 - I'll be here at 19.00 to answer any questions. Feel free to AMA now!] [Edit 19.01 - thanks for your q's, we're starting!]

[Edit 20.21 - thanks so much for all your questions - i'm away for my tea just now - i'll check back when I can & reply]

November 14th 2019
interview date

Congratulations on your success! What other breweries and brewmasters inspire you?


I love all beer it’s just always about the occasion for me and what beer goes well with what I’m doing at the time but I particularly love Timothy Taylors landlord I love steam whistle in Canada and I love the Ossian brand which is a bit of a cheat as we bought in 2016 just because I love it so much probably


I absolutely love the bourbon barrel scotch ale. I don't suppose you have a couple of free cases you could send my way do you?

Have you got any new ales in the pipeline you can tell us about?


Hic...I’ve just drank the last bottle of bourbon Porter, sorry about that but I’m sure you local liquor store have got some. Thank you so much for your kind words though it’s great to hear from people who love our beer.

We’ve got some amazing beers coming next year. An amber ale matured in Islay whiskey barrels, beer matured in a Canadian rye whiskey barrel and also will be unveiling or new quarter cask project where you can actually buy a barrel of original which we're going to mature in our barrel store for up to 3 years and then we're going to bottle and send it to you.


Hi, I'm a big fan and I've just made my first ever investment with you!

Is it true that originally the brand was going to be called "Gunn and Innis" but you changed it because it sounds too much like Guinness?

Congrats on the success, I'm excited for the new brewery to be built!


Thank you so much for investing in us I can’t wait to show you your name on the brewery wall over a beer! It was never going to be Gunn & Innis because I knew that the guys from Guinness would be right on the case with the lawyers. It’s a great brand but we just don’t wanna have that sort of fight


What would you most like to tell us that no one ever asks about?


Top tip when you pour beer with a proper head I promise you it will taste better and smell better and if you don’t believe me get two nice glasses and pour half your beer into one with a flat head & pour the other half with a lovely foamy head and then stick your nose in and smell and taste and I promise you, you will know the one that tastes better


Hi Dougal,

Thanks for doing this. As one of the 17 people in Scotland who hasn’t decided to pinch one of your iconic pint glasses from a pub, I like to feel I’ve helped to contribute to Innis & Gunn’s growth.

Whilst not being a massive fan of your barrel/cask aged range, your ‘Mangoes on the Run’ beer was really nice, and was only matched in its taste by the name.

Are there any plans to make this more widely available around bars in Scotland? And are there plans to make more experimental/limited edition brews in the new brewery?


I really wouldn't mind you pinching a glass!

Mangoes is around for good. It’s got a lot of fans out there so we do want to get it in more bars. It is in supermarkets so you can get it there. Ask the pubs you visit to get it on too! For experimental brews – we do have a micro brewery in Glasgow’s Arches. They are always small batch (recently Raspberry Ripple Sour/Marshamallow oreo stout), you can try them at the Arches or our taprooms. Definitely with a new brewery we have more freedom to let all our brewers get creative!


Got any jobs going? Would love to be part of a exponentially growing company


The new brewery is going to create up to 30 jobs in the next two years so if you love great beer and you love Innis & Gunn then send us your CV


What inspired you to start?


I was inspired to start Innis & Gunn because I was completely pissed off with the way the British beer scene was back in 2002 everything looked the same, taste the same, looked the same. And I just wanted to do something different that might change up the market up and so we launched the Original which I think did that and things began to change in the market.


I love Innis and Gunn! Did you know that you're one of British Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay's favorites? His pub restaurants actually recommend it paired with his fish and chips.


yes! I taught Gordon to brew back in 2008, for one of his UK TV shows. We built a brewery in his back garden - you can imagine the swear words that went with that. Gordon Ramsay's love of food & flavour is infectious - it was brilliant


Hi Dougal - Big Fan, big collector (must be sitting at 45+ different bottles/cans etc. so far - but not counted recently).

I was able to attend the first AGM down in London 2 years ago, but have missed the last 2 due to now living down here and unable to come up due to work commitments.

So the main question would be - for those people that have invested previously (and have again), is there any plans to ensure they can access some of the exclusive beers that only get sold in the Tap Rooms/in Scotland? I.e, The Apricot IPA - I can't get up to Scotland, but hate missing out on these exclusives.

Just wondering if there's ways of getting our hands on these when we're not in Scotland? Cheers.


I feel your pain! And thanks for your investment. Let me have a think about the best way of bringing an AGM type event south for all our community there. Sorry you haven't been able to make it & try the small batch stuff. The new brewery will make it easier for us to bottle/keg our smaller batch stuff too - so we can definitely do something there.


Do you have gluten free in the pipeline? I like Damm's Daura

Any low cal beer, like a skinny brand?

Any tips on getting rid of a beer belly?


Beer belly just means there's more of you to love! Alcohol free is the focus just now - we have been trialling some GF beers but it'll likely be 2021 before we release anything. It's been inspired by my friend's son, Zack, who has diabetes. I want to make something that he can enjoy, once he's old enough to enjoy it.


Will Brexit impact your exports in any notable way or are the majority of your ingredients and products sourced and shipped throughout the UK?


Oh God already the Brexit question, Jesus, most of our materials are sourced in the UK and we ship most of our goods out to Canada and the USA we do have small business in Europe but it’s not massive.


Will you be launching any non alcohol beers similar to Innis and None in the future?


Watch out for our alcohol free lager which is coming next year I’ve been working on it for 12 months and gave up drinking to create it so that it tastes as good as it could possibly be for people who don’t wanna drink alcohol Or don’t drink


Hi Dougal. Thanks for being here. Love your beer here in Canada. Where did you learn to become a master brewer?


I was lucky enough to start learning beer making age 14 with my dad where I worked with him at Caledonian Brewery at weekends and school holidays. He then sent me to Timothy Taylors in Keighley England where I learned all about the importance of good ingredients and balancing flavour in beer.

When I started brewing my own beers honestly the first few were an absolute disaster the taste was terrible and unfortunately we let them out to the public and this and they told me. But luckily, I’ve got it fixed and I kept at it and eventually I got quite good with making beer.


Are you planning on using wind energy or another form of renewable energy? I don't know much about the subject but I saw another brewery was trying to do that. I'm just curious because your proposed building looks so modern like it wants to keep up with the times.


We're working with Scot Gov advisers to calculate/assess our carbon impact as it is now & then looking at how we might reduce that in the new brewery. We will do everything we can afford to do this. We're 100% behind reducing the impact that we have on the environment.

Scotland is huge for renewable energy - so I think we're in a good place, based here.


Using this opportunity as best I can with another question...

Your marketing campaigns, both in Scotland and Online have been amazing these last few years - it's clear that you've really focused on this in a big way.

Unfortunately (and I try to educate them), a lot of friends, colleagues etc. down with me in London just aren't aware of the brand. Now I know it's a much harder city to tap into, target, grow in etc. - due to the vast number of competitors, sheer volume of brands, size of the city and just - cost.

But just wondered if you could shed any more detail on the marketing campaigns, how you feel they have gone, what the plans are moving forward and if the South is going to be a target area? Or - due to the Brewery, is it very much a case of look to Edinburgh and Scotland for the next few years and really cement yourselves as the kings up there?




Thanks for the kind words! Our first focus is always on brewing great beer - with originality. And being original is also something we try to bring through into our marketing and communications; we listen to our drinkers and our fans and we try to put them at the heart of what we do, as well as trying to have some fun with it all.

Our beers are widely available in supermarkets in England, and London. And of course, the more you ask for it, the more it gets stocked!

Scotland is our heartland and will always be a big focus for us, but over time we want to turn England into a nation of Innis & Gunn fans too!




Good question – I think it’s really hard to put a definition on what the ‘craft brewery’ market it, especially in the UK where it’s not as established as North America. We don’t really worry about trying to fit into a mould of craft, I’m sure there are some people who will tell you we are not craft, or not crafty enough & that’s fine by us. We’ll focus on our beer. Because of the way we currently operate, we don’t always have as much control over all our processes as we would like. This is what we’re looking to change with our brewery project, we want to make sure that corners are not cut in the name of profit – long term, that just affects your product/beer.


Not too familiar with craft beer. How would you persuade me that I should switch to a craft beer from, say, a pint of London Pride from a well kept cellar?


A pint of London Pride from a well kept cellar is outstanding - i love that. Our Original, for eg, is a very different drink for a different occasion - try it, to see if it suits your style. I think it's about finding what you like for what occasion


Ever plan on bringing the winter treacle porter Innis and Gunn back? That stuff was magical!


I agree - it was one of my favourites. I'm hoping to bring it back some time soon...


I was visiting Edinburgh this summer and had your Cola Stout at the brew pub there. It’s not available here in the US, or outside the brewery. But it tastes AMAZING! What ingredient(s) gives it the cola taste (I’m a home brewer)? Also, any plans to release this Cola stout more widely?


That's awesome you were across and visited and our Tap Room. Whilst i agree, the Cola Stout was absolutely delicious i couldn't tell you what was in it because myself and another brewer made it after a big night out a few months ago! You can find our beers in lots of liquor stores across the USA!


Thanks for doing this! It seems from some of the posts on twitter that the overseas markets get some different beers that aren’t available in Scotland. Is there a reason that these wouldn’t be available everywhere? Also do you ever see yourself doing collaborations with other breweries? If so who’s your top pick? Cheers


Because of pricing/strengthen of beer in can be more difficult finding a market for them in the UK - though we would love to sell them to people. We do add them to our online shop for people that are wanting to try something a little different.

We do get involved collabs - recently Acid Brewing Cartel - which was hugely popular.

I love the idea of a collab with people, not necessarily in the beer world, but with distillers or designers (we recently worked with 4 brilliant Scottish designers on things like a watch, chocolate, radio, jacket!) I like the idea of doing something that might not be expected.


Oh damn. Coincidentally my aunt took me to one of your restaurants for the first time when I was up in Dundee last weekend with (again coincidentally) my friend Innis. I'll say, considering you were out of most food that day (Sat 9th) you must be doing well. Food is really good. Only had a 1/2 pint of apple cider but it was really nice.

Why did you decide to open up a chain of restaurants instead of just being a brewery?

It's a great idea and seems to be doing you very well. Only really posting on here cause of all the coincidences I keep experiencing with your business. Well done on building such a successful business!


We wanted to open bars to create a place for our fans to experience our beer, our hospitality and our brand first hand - and to win new fans. p.s. don't believe in coincidences - that's the universe telling you to drink more Innis & Gunn!!!


Further to you answer on pouring a good head, what's the best way to do this? Is it all about glass angle or are there any trade secrets?


Keep the glass on a table, pour the beer into the centre of the glass - don't worry about too much foam - you can drink that. It feels more natural the more you do it. it just give it a lovely experience with a foamy head.


I have to admit I’ve never tried your beer, but now I’m intrigued.

What would you recommend for someone new to your brand who normally sticks to barrel aged sours and saisons?


Grab a bottle of our Original - get it chilled right down - pour into a big red wine glass - sit down - feet up - sip - savour - enjoy!


Hey Dougal, Congrats to you and Neil on the success of I&G. Would you ever consider an collab with Caledonian Brewery? Seems like beer collaborations happen all the time these days. You'd probably sell loads. ;)


We do love a good collab at I&G – I mentioned some we’ve done earlier – we are always open to creating something new & exciting. It would definitely need to be something a bit different!


Are you still planning to open the new brewery on Heriot-Watt's campus?


I'm really hoping to make an announcement on this really soon. I can't wait to share the location...that's all I can say for now.


What beer other then your own brand do you enjoy?

And yes I must gush I absolutely love all your products I’ve tried!


Thanks, it's so nice to hear! I enjoy Timothy Taylor's Landlord & I love Steam Whistle in Canada


What were you thinking with the strength of the rum cask beer?! Had a few bottles and could barely stand up haha

Great beers guys been drinking I&G for 10 years, love that I can buy it in aldi now


Blood red sky isn’t even the strongest one – you should try Vanishing Point! But really, it’s not a session beer, it’s more a slow paced, enjoyable drink – hope you liked it! Glad you’re finding us in your supermarket too- cheers.


What's one unknown fact that people should know about beer?


I’m not sure how little known it is, but people are always surprised to find out how similar making beer & making whisky are


Ach my fellow Scotsman!

I'm a recently transplanted Canadian, having relocated to merry old Tahiti. Innis & Gunn have been a favourite of mine, particularly their stouts.

I have not been able to find your products over here. Is there anything we could possibly do about that?? I mean, Hinano is great and everything, but it just doesn't put hair under your kilt.


I'll bet you're certainly warmer in Tahiti than we are in Edinburgh this morning! I'll do my best to get some of our beer your way.


Guinness or Lagavulin?


I do like both. If i had to pick just one - probably Guinness


Dude I love Innis&Gunn! It's my all time favorite beer! What's up with Budweiser/eagle distributors in Tennessee? They're the whole reason we can't get it over here anymore. Also is there any way to order y'alls beer online and get it shipped to my house?

Congrats on the new brewery and thanks for helping make the greatest beer on the planet!


Cheers to that!
Sorry to hear you're struggling to find us. Have you tried searching on here:


Craft beer in mass production, largest brewery, 32 countries..what makes you a craft brewery rather than a Heineken competitor in the works?


Craft brewing is not about size, but about attitude. Heineken make some great beers, but we do things differently. Just try a glass of our Lager or a glass of our Blood Red Sky and that will answer your question. Enjoy!



Are you familiar with Chainlink?


As in the fence found at industrial facilities?


Hi Dougal, I love each and every one of your beers and am ecstatic that it's a big seller in my country. My ancestry is Scottish and I plan to visit 'the homeland' soon - when do you hope your new brewery be complete (so I can time my visit)? What else do you recommend I see in the area?


Can't wait to welcome you back to the homeland! If you're planning your trip for 2021 then we should be able to welcome you to our brewery. There's a lot to see in Edinburgh & Scotland both r/Edinburgh & r/Scotland have loads of tips. I love the Perthshire countryside where Inveralmond Brewery is located, you should definitely add that area to your list.


do you know what's the best rating site for beer and/or wine?


It really depends where you are based. Here in the UK untappd is huge (also on here r/untappd) - a great community where everyone share their thoughts on what they're drinking.

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