Founders of recently crowned New Brewery of the Year, micro-brewery MòR in Kellas met with Provost of Angus, Cllr Helen Oswald as part of a programme of visits to successful local businesses.
“We were up against ten English and one Welsh brewery in the finals so to win was a fabulous endorsement of our real ales,” said Jim Hughan, who set up MòR Brewery with friend and fellow director Ross Niven three years ago.
“We’d no idea we would be so successful,” continued Jim, who looks after the brewing side of the business, while Ross is in charge of sales and marketing.
“Within our first year, we were struggling to keep up with the demand for our real ales so we increased the amount of equipment we had. We went from a two barrel plant to a 4.5 barrel plant, which is just perfect for us.”
Ross told the Provost that MòR ales are currently available in selected pubs throughout Angus, Dundee, Perthshire and Fife. “We have a very loyal local customer base,” said Ross, who added that MòR ales have been guest ales in several Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle pubs, where they sold very well, with a pub group in Nottingham ordering another 18 casks.
Jim and Ross started their business after a chance remark in a pub in York.
“Having just retired from being the coxswain of Broughty Ferry Lifeboat, I was looking for a new career,” revealed Jim. “Ross and I were on a trip to York with our friends and families when we decided we could make an ale as good as the one we’d just tried. The next day, we realised this was something we could realistically try so we decided to give brewing a go!”
Jim brews MòR Brewery’s seven ales in the converted stables next to the cottage where he lives with his wife. “It’s a very compact operation,” he told the Provost on her guided tour of MòR Brewery, which was one of the finalists in the 2013 Angus Ambassador Awards, the annual celebration of the very best of Angus.
“The process begins with heating water overnight, before adding barley, leaving to soak and then adding hops, boiling, chilling, fermenting and chilling again. The flavour and colour of each ale is determined by the choice of hops and barley - recipes which are the result of years of research by Ross and me,” laughed Jim.
Ross stressed that they are keen to capitalise on their location, with ‘Brewed In Angus’ in pride of place on the labels of all seven MòR ales. “When I’m talking to potential customers, it definitely helps that Angus has a reputation for producing top quality food and drink,” said Ross.
The Provost revealed that MòR Brewery was brought to her attention when she was judging the 2013 Angus Ambassador Awards. “These awards highlight the excellence, innovation and drive that exists throughout our county,” said the Provost. “MòR Brewery is a highly-impressive example of an Angus business which, in a short space of time, has established an enviable customer base and gained national recognition.
“MòR Brewery was a very worthy finalist in last year’s Angus Ambassador Awards. Jim and Ross have so much enthusiasm for their venture and are using their skills in brewing, sales and marketing to great effect. It’s no wonder this small business is such a big success.”