Houston Brewery toasts Aldi deal amid expansion plans

A MICRO-BREWERY visited by the likes of Neil Diamond, Ally McCoist and Paolo Nutini has become the latest beer maker to unveil expansion plans after signing a £720,000 financing deal with HSBC and securing its first supply contract with Aldi.

The Houston Brewery Company will move to larger premises and finish refurbishing its famous Fox and Hounds pub in the Renfrewshire town after borrowing the cash.

Former Irn-Bru sales director Andy Anderson and accountant Stewart Robertson bought the pub in November from Ron and Hilary Wengel for £1 million.

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The Wengels had taken over the former coaching inn 30 years ago, with their sons, Carl and Jonathon, running the business in recent years.

Carl remains with the firm as head brewer.

The Fox and Hounds, a former coaching inn, traces its roots back to 1779, with its micro-brewery opening in 1997.

Anderson told The Scotsman that he hopes to build the expanded brewery within a mile or two of its current site.

His firm already employs 35 people and Anderson expects to create at least 15 jobs as he ramps up production and grows his company’s sales and marketing operations.

Anderson said: “The brewery is a bit like a football club – it’s a sleeping giant that needs some tender-loving care.”

Aldi, the German discount grocery chain, will start stocking Houston’s beer next month under the brewing company’s first contract with a multiple retailer.

A raft of Scottish micro-brewers – including Arran, Cairngorm, Harviestoun, Stewart and West – have unveiled expansion plans in recent months as drinkers continue to sate their thirst for real ales.