Courtesy of Ales Of Scilly

Ales of Scilly is cutting its carbon footprint with an old-school method of transportation.

Mike Pomranz
Updated August 14, 2017

Many brewers, just like all sorts of business owners around the world, are looking for ways to make what they do more environmentally-friendly. That can be especially tough when your brewery is located on a tiny island nearly 30 miles off the coast of England, where shipping to and from the mainland can increase your carbon footprint. But Ales of Scilly—the lone brewery on St Mary’s, the largest island of Isles of Scilly archipelago—has found a unique way to get its beers to the significantly larger British Isles… a replica 18th-century sailboat.

Utilizing wind power in one of its purest forms, this past Friday, Ales of Scilly brewer Jennie Trevithick loaded two barrels of beer onto the Grayhound—a five-sixths-sized replica of an 18th-century three-mast Cornish Lugger of the same name. The sailboat, which was first launched in 2012, even includes eight cannons, just like the original (though it’s doubtful they’ve been used during recent shipments). In the past, Ales of Scilly has brewed exclusively for the island, but when a small pub in Bude, located on the English mainland, requested some brews, Trevithick figured the sailboat was a fitting method of delivery.

“I originally came from Falmouth so knew about the sail trading boats and was keen to get our ales on it when I took on the brewery in March,” Trevithick told The Drinks Business. “The mode of transport is very fitting for the Ales of Scilly brand as we name our ales after local shipwrecks so each has a story behind it. It is also environmentally friendly which is very important for us. As we live on an island and in beautiful surroundings, the environmental impact is something that we are constantly looking at reducing.”

Though sailboat isn’t the only method Ales of Scilly can use to get its beers off the island—St Mary’s is serviced by a more typical freight vessel three times a week—Trevithick said she hopes to continue to use the Grayhound in the future. “I love meeting them on the beach and handing over the goods—it is such a traditional thing to do and often draws a crowd to watch,” she said. “In the future, we are hoping to get more outlets on the mainland and will use Grayhound as much as we can. Obviously it being a charter sailing vessel we have to work around their timetable as much as possible but they are often in Scillonian waters so that will not be an issue for most customers on the mainland.”

Of course, by making this public they'll now have to be on the lookout for any marauding beer pirates.