Scottish brewery announces plans to create first 100% accessible taproom for people with disabilities

A Scottish brewery has announced plans to start a new social enterprise dedicated to creating a Scottish first - a taproom and event space that is 100 per cent accessible for people with disabilities.

Published 20th Aug 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Ride Brew Co, which is currently based just outside of Glasgow city centre, will move to a larger site in the south side of the city to allow it to use a bigger kit and house the new onsite taproom.

The project, dubbed The Glasgow Brewery Collective, aims to create a number of jobs that will provide employment for people with disabilities struggling to get into work.

The brainchild of head brewer Dave Lannigan, the new project was inspired by the fact that the brewer himself has hearing loss, while also suffering from ADHD and dyslexia.

He said: “My disabilities have given me personal experience of being excluded and the struggles that people with disabilities face when trying to find work. I’m keen to do something to help people in a similar situation to me find meaningful employment”

Ride brew co will be joined by other local breweries in various capacities to help get the project off the ground.

Mike Shaw, co-founder of Late Night Hype Brewing Company in Clydebank, who previously worked as an additional support learning assistant before starting his brewery, said: “Despite an incredible amount of hard work by students and their teachers, once graduated our young alumni often struggled in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

"When setting up Late Night Hype, I vowed to myself to create appropriate jobs with good support and development opportunities for people with additional support needs. We’re in talks with Ride to see how we can be a part of the plans, either being directly involved in the running of the project or by sharing resources."

The project aims to create a space that is completely accessible to people with a range of disabilities, from wheelchair users to people with impaired vision as well as those from the deaf community, everyone will be catered for.

Mr Lannigan said: “We’ll be installing a T-loop, we’ll have large print and easy read menus, our bar will have a lowered section to provide access to wheelchair users and our lighting will be done in consultation with people with visual impairments to be atmospheric yet ensure that signage remains easy to read.

“All things that are not difficult for other premises to start doing, but that is all too uncommon in the industry. We intend to consult with the relevant charities and organisations to ensure that every business decision we make will promote accessibility and inclusivity."

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The brewery, which has turned a profit in its first year and is now selling to customers nationwide, won gold at the SIBA independent beer awards Scotland region for premium strong beers with its IPA ‘I Drink Your Milkshake’.

However, in order to fund the project they will be turning to crowdfunding, Mr Lannigan added: “Our plans are viable, there is a lot of interest in what we want to do and there is a genuine need in the community. However it could take years to sell enough beer to raise the funds to finance our plans. As such, we’re asking the general public to become a part of our ambition. We still have some groundwork to do, but we’ll be starting a crowdfunding campaign very soon."

“We have found a unit in the south side of Glasgow that we think would be perfect. We have heard that Glasgow City Council are generally not accepting licence applications for new premises in the area, but a project like this is so important that we hope that the Council will see that and support us.

“We’re not looking to become a rowdy nightclub, just a space where people with disabilities can find work with a decent wage and a space to come and enjoy many of the things that most people take for granted.”

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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