FORMER Miss Scotland Lois Weatherup was bedecked with pheasant feathers on Tuesday for the launch of the first two cask ales from the Scottish Borders Brewery based near Ancrum.
The extravagant garb of the erstwhile textile design student in Galashiels reflected the names of the two new products: Game Bird and Foxy Blond.
The brewery is using home-grown malting barley from its own farm and artesian spring water to create what is claims are the only “plough-to-pint” beers being produced in 21st-century Scotland.
Both Game Bird, a 4% amber ale, and Foxy Blond, a 3.8% classic pale ale, have been on trial in selected outlets in the Borders and have proved a big hit with drinkers, according to brewery owner John Henderson. They are now on sale in more than 50 pubs, and the firm is is taking new orders each day.
“I am delighted with how our first two products have been received,” said Mr Henderson. “As well as being popular with real ale enthusiasts, we are also managing to convert lager and cider drinkers to our beers. They have an easy-drinking style and have been developed to appeal to a broad customer base.
“Now we have two proven products available for sale, we hope to attract orders from further afield, including bars in Edinburgh, the Lothians and the north of England.
“We have selected product names to reflect the beers’ countryside heritage, but they also add some humour to our brand. We want drinking our beers to be part of a great night out. Good company, good banter and good beer – for us that’s what it’s all about.”
Mr Henderson revealed that more product releases are planned for later in the year and in addition to its cask ales the brewery is also looking at bottling its products as part of ongoing efforts to widen distribution.
“Despite the current economic climate, the market for specialty real ales is showing good growth as people become increasingly discerning about the products they buy,” said Mr Henderson.
“The Scottish Borders Brewery is the only microbrewery operation in the country to grow its own barley and we aim to cash in on our ability to claim local provenance to gain a foothold in the real-ale market.
The Game Bird dress worn by Lois, who was crowned Miss Scotland in 2004 and is now a leading model, was designed and created by Borders costume designer Greg Smith and features pheasant feathers donated by Game and Country, based in Selkirk.
More information on the Scottish Borders Brewery, including details on where to buy its beers, can be found at www.scottishbordersbrewery.com and on Facebook.