Bute Yard provides showcase of local businesses with over 11,000 visitors since its launch

Four months after its opening, Bute Yard, the versatile food and drink venue that celebrates local producers and creators, has welcomed over 11,000 visitors.

Industry news
Published: 22/09/2023

Four months after its opening, Bute Yard, the versatile food and drink venue that celebrates local producers and creators, has welcomed over 11,000 visitors, 6,000 of which have attended their monthly markets, held the first Sunday of every month.

Cathleen Crichton-Stuart, Director of Bute Yard and Isle of Bute Smokehouse said:

“The opening of Bute Yard has been a major milestone for the Isle of Bute and the wider food and drink scene in rural Scotland. We’ve been hugely encouraged by the response of the monthly markets and the flexible space we’ve created, which has resulted in spin-off benefits for multiple businesses within the community.

 “When Bute Yard opened with its first monthly market in June 2023 its vision was to be at the centre of a vibrant regeneration on the island. This aim to support the growth of local communities and businesses is fast becoming a reality. Bute Yard really is providing a platform to highlight the best taste and talent the island has to offer from the local food and drink scene.”

 A home to thriving local businesses

Bute Yard’s first success story includes the revival of the Bute Brew Co.  Known for its craft lager, fruity pale ales and IPA, the company now brews on site and runs a taproom inside Bute Yard. In addition, the Isle of Bute Distillery, stocks its full range of gin and rum at the impressive bar there. Alongside these producers, the award-winning Isle of Bute Smokehouse, which dates back to 1888, has also made a permanent home at Bute Yard. Apart from their ever-popular smoked salmon and trout, they also sell smoked cheese, sandwiches, salads, oatcakes and preserves.

Bute Yard’s newest tenant, Coffee & Chocolate operates from a vintage horsebox in the courtyard or indoors depending on the weather. They provide teas, coffees, hot chocolates, Shmoo milkshakes and cakes for sweet treats. Market traders rotate throughout the year with the best local food and drink taking part in partnership with ButeKitchen, whose members’ products will soon be showcased permanently at Bute Yard. Local art and craft makers also take part, in partnership with the Isle of Bute Artists’ Collective

From June through to September there have been an impressive 60 businesses have been showcased of which 43% were food and drink vendors: from fresh produce suppliers to artisan and craft producers. 50% of those taking part were artists exhibiting their paintings, artwork and crafts, and 7% were charitable organisations. Businesses represented were 97% Bute-based, making the market an easy way for visitors to access local culinary and creative talent in one place and for residents to support the local economy.

 A dynamic and versatile space that’s open to all

Bute Yard is a contemporary, multi-use venue with flexible and scalable event spaces that is available for a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. The modular space features open-plan bar services and kitchen facilities for use by private and corporate event organisers, chefs and restaurants.

In addition to the monthly markets, Bute Yard supports and complements long-standing local, corporate and private events, as well as other community initiatives. The year-round programme of activity complements established island festivals and events. Community activities have included local Rothesay Academy students selling flowers and produce grown in the school garden and Bute Produce, Incredible Edible, ReStyle, Bute Arts Society, Calum’s Cabin and Promoting Inclusion through Sport, which showcased local community projects.

The team at Bute Yard are now looking for small food and drink producers from beyond the island to come along to take part in the monthly markets, opening up the island to the greater exposure it thoroughly deserves.

Alongside the extension to regional small businesses, the venue has started to collaborate with various local and off-island chefs and restaurants to host a range of diverse food popups from its 70m² kitchen, ultimately aiming to elevate the range and quality of food options available on the island.

Who’s behind the project?

Bute Yard was envisaged by Johnny Bute, the 7th Marquess of Bute, as a community project with the dual purpose of developing the Isle of Bute economy and its community through collaboration and answering the needs of the local food and drink sector for growth and expansion.

The Bute family, working in close partnership with other island stakeholders and the Isle of Bute community, have not only materialised Johnny’s vision, but also created a legacy that can be experienced and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. 

 How do I find out more?

Bute Yard

61-67 High Street

Rothesay PA20 9AU





Get the latest direct to your inbox

Sign-up to our newsletter to receive updates and latest news.

Newsletter sign up