Brewing company

The Griffin, Glasgow: the owner of the Isle of Skye Brewing Company takes over the famous establishment

The Griffin in Glasgow, whose history dates back to 1903, was taken over by Isle of Skye Brewing Company owner Kenny Webster, who is taking his first steps into the licensed business.

Mr Webster acquired the traditional pub – on the corner of Bath Street and Elmbank Street – from Glasgow publican and entrepreneur Oli Norman.

The owner of the Isle of Skye Brewing Company has hired The Griffin on a 15-year lease, under a “six figure” contract, a spokesperson said.

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The Griffin, which has been closed since the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, is due to reopen this week after a £40,000 renovation.

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Mr Webster, who also owns Black Wolf Brewery in Throsk in Stirlingshire and North Coast Brewing Co. in Kinloss, said he had been planning to buy a bar for some time but was waiting for the right one opportunity.

The businessman, who will employ 15 people at The Griffin, is aiming for a turnover of £1million in the first year of trading, doubling to £2million by the end of the third year.

He said: “As a brewer it’s natural to get into the licensed business but I wasn’t going to acquire a pub just for the sake of it.

“It had to be the right one and, when The Griffin became available, I knew it was it. It ticked all the boxes.

Mr Webster, one of Scotland’s largest independent brewers, has not ruled out buying more outlets.

While new copper fonts were installed at the Griffin, many of the original fixtures and fittings were restored, including the bar and the original horseshoe-shaped oak tables. The facade adorned with A-rated wooden panels has been revamped.

Interior lighting has been replaced with over 200 LED (light emitting diode) lights to save on energy costs.

The bar and lounges will serve a range of cask-conditioned ales – including those produced by Isle of Skye Brewing Company – as well as wines and spirits and traditional pub fare.

A separate reception area, which can accommodate up to 70 people, will be available for hire for parties and events. There are also plans to hold live music events at the Griffin.

Mr Webster said he did not plan to make any major changes to the pub, which over the decades has been frequented by performers from the nearby King’s Theatre.

He added: “The great charm of The Griffin is that it never changes. People continue to come here because over the decades it has retained the same welcoming blend of warmth, friendliness and familiarity.

“Stars appearing at King’s love it because it’s a home away from home – a place where they can go for a quiet drink after their show and have fun without being harassed or harassed.”

The pub’s current name comes from William Griffin, who owned and ran the bar in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was previously known as King’s Arms.