There aren't many breweries that have been founded by two ex-Tornedo jet pilots but that's exactly who's behind the Windswept Brewing Co, in Lossiemouth on the Moray coast in Scotland. When Nigel Tiddy and Al Read left the Royal Air Force, they wanted to share their passion for great beer, so they started brewing from the garage.
In 2012, this passion became a little more serious when the team purchased a commercial brewing kit and produced their first casks and bottles of craft beer. As the popularity of the beers grew and the range developed, Nigel and Al started to explore keg beer. They looked at several different options, including steel and PET kegs. However, the former was prohibitively expensive for a small business compared to the KeyKeg system which provided a low-cost entry into the keg market. The team loved the bag technology allowing the beer to be kept fresher for longer and the fact that no C02 is required for dispensing. The ultra-lightweight design also results in lower transportation costs as well as easier manual handling in the brewery as well as behind the bar.
Nigel highlights some of the other benefits of KeyKeg: "The product quality is always consistent, it is easily dispensed, and kegs can be swapped in and out to meet consumer demand, even when they are not finished. With no washing requirement, we have increased time efficiency in the brewery as well as reduced cleaning chemical costs."
After attending events and showcasing their beers, anything that is left over is served in the brewery's own tap room safe in the knowledge that the beer will still taste as good as it did the day it was brewed. And it means there's absolutely no waste. KeyKeg's smart stackable, self-locking design has also simplified the export process. Pallets can be built easily and securely with the added knowledge the beer will be delivered in pristine condition and therefore it has allowed greater confidence in exploring the export market.
Nigel points out that some customers have been wary of using 'plastic'. However, the brewery is now part of the OneCircle collection scheme and takes the empty kegs away for recycling, saving the pubs and bars valuable space but also helping them play their part in the circular economy. All the KeyKegs which are collected and recycled are used to make new KegKegs. Currently, 30% of a KeyKeg is made from recycled material but the ambition is to make the kegs fully circular.
Windswept Brewing Co. currently uses 30L KeyKegs and brews 2000 hectolitres of beer a year. It has high aspirations for future growth and is committed to quality with a mission to create some of the finest beer in Scotland whilst building a brand that captures the spirit of rugged adventure found in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.More information