I had the opportunity to visit the Scottish Highlands with two of my colleagues. The land is stunning with low clouds swirling over the tops of tall hills and dotted with lochs, herds of sheep and towering stone castles. We saw our first Highland Cow, witnessed spectacular ocean views and visited several distilleries.
Scotland – Home of Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace and Nessie! Mecca for the drinkers of Scotch whisky, and now, for the connoisseurs of organic pizza and craft beer at Black Isle Brewery.
Black Isle Brewery – Organic
Long before organic food was a “thing”, David Gladwin, founder of Black Isle Brewery, back in 1998, had a unique vision of a brewery business and decided to go organic with his beer production. Growing his own barley, buying organic hops from the EU and using the water from his own land, he began making craft beverages.
However, farming isn’t a one-product venture. If you are going to grow barley, you might as well throw in some vegetables and maybe a chicken or two for feeding the workers or yourself. And then, while drinking your craft beer, after a hard day of work, you have The Thought… and, it’s brilliant!!
What is a perfect food to eat while drinking a delicious craft beer? Pizza! If you are drinking organic beer, you know it has to be organic pizza. So, David Gladwin decided to vertically integrate his brewery business into a brewery, pub house and restaurant. Over a 20 year period, that is what happened.
The region’s capital, Inverness, is home to Black Isle Brewery (check out their Untappd Profile). The brewery sits on a 125 acre farm that is northeast of town on the Black Isle. The Black Isle Brewery Pizzeria is located in downtown Inverness.
Down on the Beer Farm
At the brewery, all ingredients used in the different beers and food made at Black Isle are organic. They grow their own barley, raise milk from cows for making cheese and grow vegetables for toppings and salads. Not all products are sourced from their farm; they have suppliers that meet their organic standards. And, as a side product line, they raise sheep for wool that is used in their line of wool clothing. The sheep also contribute organic matter to the compost, which fertilizes the garden.
It was interesting to see the green house in operation. I was given a tour of one of their hop houses by a graduate student (from Brazil) who was studying organic farming methods. At this location, plants were being started for eventual transplanting to the fields, as well as green leafy produce being grown for the restaurant.
Brewery Trench Drain
Black Isle uses the Pro-Plus 100 trench drain in its brewery floor, which is a wonderful surprise for me.
As a brewery drain specialist, I’m always looking for the best option – an affordable drain capable of tackling the heat and chemicals seen in breweries.
Pro-Plus 100 has been on my radar for years now. But since it isn’t as popular in the U.S. it’s harder sell. Brewers rightfully want a case study before buying.
Let’s look now at why the Pro Plus 100 series makes an excellent brewery drain:
- High Temperature – the system’s composition means you can pipe cleaning water directly to the channel at 160 F+ temperatures, or run it across the floor. I saw it both ways while touring the production floor.
- High Traffic – grates are heavy duty iron. No additional frames required. The original grates have lasted since the floors were poured. That iron is over a decade old!
- High Chemical – notice how the floor coating wears over time and traffic, but the Pro-Plus 100 brewery drains are a-okay. Compound is secure against corrosion. And the iron grates are still going strong, despite brewery chemical exposure.
Back at the Bar (and Rooms)
At the brewery we were able to sample a few of the available bottled selections. However, at their pub, there were more than 20 beers on tap. The beers ranged from a mellow blonde pilsner to smoky porters.
I’ve been a Guinness fan for years, but Hibernator Oatmeal Stout opened my eyes. Hibernator is a rich stout with sweet chocolate flavor and roasted tones. Another standout in my mind was the Red Kite Ale, a nutty amber ale with notes of citrus.
While the workers back on the farm are busy growing organic food and brewing craft beer, customers are at the pub gobbling up pizza and swilling pints of beer.
The Black Isle Brewery mixes a craft beer attitude with a Scottish palette. And that palette is delicious. The pizza menu is also organically unique. Consider venison salami, lamb meatballs or n’duja sausage on your pizza. Maybe goat cheese, pear and walnuts? All the pizza is wood fired on stone decks. Salads, sides and artisan cheese and charcuterie are also available.
I’m happy to say that the trench drains are going as strong as the brewery itself. The Black Isle Brewing company is growing, outpacing its ability to self-produce organic grains. With a network of distributors across the globe, Black Isle Brewing is already pulling from other regional farms to spread a bit of the Scottish cheer around the world. They currently have distribution in across Europe, China, Japan and the United States. Expect to see them in a beer tap near you.
Trench Drain Systems is the leading supplier of drainage systems for distilleries, breweries and micro-breweries throughout the United States. Having worked with over 100 breweries, our experts are ready to help. Trench Drain Systems has an extensive line of trench drain channels, grates and catch basins, and can help you find cost-effective options for your new and expanding brewery.