Belfast bar ditches big beer brands including Guinness in favour of local brews

Pedro Donald at the Sunflower where they have made a pledge to stock local beers in favour of international brands
Pedro Donald at the Sunflower where they have made a pledge to stock local beers in favour of international brands

One of Belfast’s longest standing public houses has taken the bold move of removing the majority of its international beer brands in favour of showcasing products from local breweries.

Pedro Donald who owns Union Street’s Sunflower bar said he made the decision as he believed consumers are “completely fed up with the same standard offerings”.

As well as doing away with most of his international beer brands, Mr Donald has made a bold statement by dropping Guinness and installing Yardsman Double Stout as his only stout of choice.

The publican, who has worked in the hospitality sector for over 30 years, and took over Sunflower in 2012, said: “The licensed trade in Northern Ireland has always been restricted by the tied house phenomenon that excludes competition and only promotes the big multinational’s brands, which in turn has meant that the trade’s offering to the public has been somewhat generic.

“I firmly believe that consumers are completely fed up with the same standard offerings and now they want something different.

“I also believe that we now have some amazing local craft breweries here in Ireland that deserve to have their brands showcased.”

Northern Ireland has some 27 local craft breweries now, and the craft beer revolution seems to be growing consistently across all channels.

The Hercules Brewing Company, the first craft brewery in Belfast and the creators of Yardsman beers are one of the breweries chosen by Mr Donald to adorn the bar counter in Sunflower, with their Yardsman Original Double Stout now pouring as the venue’s only stout of choice.

Pedro added: “We are regularly asked ‘What have you got that’s local?’ and in my view the Yardsman Original Double Stout is a fabulous beer and it is brewed here in Belfast, just a stone’s throw from the bar and is made using all natural, local ingredients with traditional brewing methods. We’re in Belfast so why not offer a Belfast stout rather than a Dublin one?”

Sunflower’s tap range, which is now almost exclusively local, will carry craft beers from across Ireland including, ranges from as Hilden, Ireland’s oldest independent brewery, Farmageddon, Northbound, Clearsky and Kinnegar, as well as a locally produced cider from Armagh, McIvor’s.