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Case Study

Stuart Dinning

Founder and Operations Director, Growler Beers

Wed, 25 May 2016

Stuart Dinning is the Founder and Operations Director of Growler Beers; the first business in the UK to sell refillable Growler glass bottles along with fresh, locally brewed beers. Stuart is a graduate in MA Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh and won a highly commended awarded in our 2013-14 New Ventures Competition.

How Did Growler Beers Get Started?


Stuart attended the University of Edinburgh to complete a Master’s degree in Archaeology. During his time studying, he travelled to the USA for a holiday and came across beer growlers. He was hooked straight away and realised that there was nothing like this in the UK. He decided that he had to open the first UK Growler store.

Stuart initially found it difficult to get advice on how move his idea forward so relied on his 10 years of bar experience.


“I had made the decision right from the off that this was going to be a full time job and while I was finishing university, writing my Archaeology dissertation I was also writing my business plan. I had anticipated opening our first unit in July 2013 immediately after graduating.”Stuart Dinning

Stuart then came across Launch.ed, the University of Edinburgh’s dedicated enterprise service. They helped him to start moving in the right direction to turn his idea into a viable business.

What Happened Next?

Launch.ed introduced Stuart to SIE in 2013. He quickly entered our New Ventures competition which led him to a programme of support including training and time with a Business Advisor. Stuart won the Highly Commended Award at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit where he received a £500 prize.


“Get help with your business plan. If that’s no good you won’t get the business moving anywhere.”Stuart Dinning


Stuart opened his first store in Edinburgh in October 2013 slightly later than planned after being held up for various reasons.


“We were a brand new concept for the UK market and teething problems were to be expected.”Stuart Dinning


Stuart opened his second store in Edinburgh in 2015 after a successful crowd funding campaign via Crowdcube, raising over £100,000 in two months.


“The top benefits of being an Entrepreneur for me, are definitely working for yourself at your own speed, while seeing something you imagined evolve into a fully trading company and knowing that people take an interest and see worth in what you’ve achieved.”Stuart Dinning


Next Steps for Growler Beers

Stuart plans to grow the business and open one new store each year in Scotland. He is also working with Platinum Wave, the UK’s leading franchise consultants, to franchise Growler Beers UK in the rest of the UK, Europe and perhaps even further.


“Don’t be put off by rejection, you will never get Yes’s, without first receiving No’s. Always make sure that you learn from negatives, by turning them to positives.”Stuart Dinning


Stuart’s journey of entrepreneurship in Scotland is an excellent example of what young entrepreneurs can do, even whilst they are still studying. Stuart shared a key piece of advice for any students or graduates who would like to start their own business:


“Never give up. Success could just be around the corner.”Stuart Dinning