DRS is the Deposit Return Scheme. It is a recycling scheme being introduced in Scotland. Anyone who buys a single use drinks container (glass, can or plastic) will pay an additional 20p for their drink and will receive 20p back when they return it to a return point.

We love sustainability and we love the idea of DRS! Some other countries, including Germany, are doing this and it makes a significant impact on the amount of containers that get recycled.

However, the implementation of DRS in Scotland is incredibly complicated and lacking clarity. Although drink producers are legally required to sign on to the scheme by the end of February, there’s still a frustrating lack of information about how some critical parts are going to work. This is especially troubling when we are being required to pay a huge amount of upfront costs in order to sponsor it.

Small businesses have been trying to get clarification for the past two years by lobbying both the Scottish Government and the industry led company appointed to administer the scheme, Circularity Scotland Ltd (or CSL). However, CSL was created by organisations who sell over 10 Million containers into Scotland annually, this was directed by the legislation, and there has been a frustrating refusal to acknowledge the disproportionately prohibitive financial and physical impacts of how the scheme, as it currently stands, will impact small businesses.

The costs and uncertainty involved are already causing some craft breweries and small batch distilleries to close down and will lead to many more following suit if it goes forward in it’s current sate. While we’re doing everything we can to prepare, unfortunately Windswept may end up being one of those.

Again, we love sustainability! We try our best to keep our environmental impact low and are engaged in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with UHI to help develop innovative ways for small breweries to work towards Net Zero.

This is not a political issue for us but about our survival and that of other small producers and retailers in Scotland. The scheme will also have a significant impact on consumer choice in Scotland as companies elect to withdraw their products. We hope you follow us because you like our beer and want us to be able to continue making it. Giving small businesses an 18 month grace period to enter the scheme would be an enormous help. If you are also worried about the impact of the current DRS implementation, we would urge you to contact Richard Lochhead at and tell him you love your local craft breweries and want an extension for small businesses to join the scheme.

*If you’re a producer or retailer of beverages and you haven’t heard of DRS, you need to look into it now as there are massive changes coming that will impact you. Our founder, Nigel Tiddy, has spent a lot of time researching and lobbying around the scheme and if there is enough interest would be happy to conduct a group informational session.*

If you would like to learn some more about the scheme and some of the issues with the current iteration, we recommend the following: from 1:45-22:43.

Join The Adventure

Subscribe to our newsletter with stories from our latest adventures and the best beer tips