Hopping mad for craft beer in Northern Ireland

editorial image

In Northern Ireland the burgeoning craft beer market has given rise to a new entrepreneur.

A wealth of people who are passionate about real ale and home-brew 
lager.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th  July 2015 -''Picture by Kelvin Boyes   / Press Eye.'''Belfast's first craft brewery wins top international award '''' 'Picture shows: Niall McMullan, international drinks industry veteran and creator of Yardsman lager celebrates as the small batch brew wins a Gold Medal at the 54th Monde Selection International quality awards.''The awards, which were designed to measure and assess with complete objectivity, the quality of products from 224 companies across the world, presented the accolade to Yardsman lager at the recent awards in Lisbon.''One of only two companies in Ireland to receive the prestigious award, Yardsman lager is a unique offering in the craft beer market. With a brewing process that is a nod to its rich Belfast heritage, locally sourced products including Irish lager malt and Belfast water are filtered through Irish linen, allowing the lager to mature for a six week period and create its award winning taste.'' ''[ENDS]' ''Notes to Editors:'' 'The or

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2015 -''Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.'''Belfast's first craft brewery wins top international award '''' 'Picture shows: Niall McMullan, international drinks industry veteran and creator of Yardsman lager celebrates as the small batch brew wins a Gold Medal at the 54th Monde Selection International quality awards.''The awards, which were designed to measure and assess with complete objectivity, the quality of products from 224 companies across the world, presented the accolade to Yardsman lager at the recent awards in Lisbon.''One of only two companies in Ireland to receive the prestigious award, Yardsman lager is a unique offering in the craft beer market. With a brewing process that is a nod to its rich Belfast heritage, locally sourced products including Irish lager malt and Belfast water are filtered through Irish linen, allowing the lager to mature for a six week period and create its award winning taste.'' ''[ENDS]' ''Notes to Editors:'' 'The or

What had almost died out as an artisan business is making a comeback in a big way, forcing even the biggest drinks distributors to “up” their game and consider doing something more exciting with their portfolio.

Dotted around Northern Ireland over the years were a number of small craft beer producers who filled a very small niche in the local market.

As the global craft beer industry began to grow and customers started looking for something more than their average lager or stout at the bar - the big producers clambered to keep up with the ever-changing palates.

With consumers willing to pay a higher premium for an artisan product and having a thirst for many varying tastes, entrepreneurs across the country have been cashing in on the need.

Matthew Dick, co-founder, Boundary Brewing along with one of his beers. Pic Philly Campbell

Matthew Dick, co-founder, Boundary Brewing along with one of his beers. Pic Philly Campbell

Last week Boundary Brewing, Northern Ireland’s first crowd-funded brewery re-opened it’s call for investors.

Having raised more than £100,000 last year the company is opening up the community share offer to the public once again.

A year on, under the direction of co-founder and brewer Matthew Dick the Belfast brewery’s beers are now sold at bars, restaurants and outlets across Northern Ireland with a deal in place to supply Disney World in Florida, early next year.

So, for as little as just £100, you could become a member – giving you a vote and a say in how the brewery is run and operated.

Matthew Dick, co-founder, Boundary Brewing along with some of his beers. Pic Philly Campbell

Matthew Dick, co-founder, Boundary Brewing along with some of his beers. Pic Philly Campbell

Although Boundary Brewing have identified a unique way to fund their venture it was drinks industry entrepreneur Niall McMullan who reinvented the craft beer business in Belfast.

In the spring of 2014 businessman Niall kickstarted the trend in the city by opening the award winning Hercules Brewing Company - the first craft brewery to open in Belfast for around 160 years.

The company now produce a range of ales, stouts and lagers under the Yardsman brand in the Cathedral Quarter of the city.

Niall said: “In the 1800s Belfast had 13 breweries, all producing craft beer and ale for the local and export markets.

“As the Industrial Revolution kicked in and large companies such as Guinness began to grow and take over the market the city’s artisan breweries went into decline before eventually being eradicated just over a century ago.”

And indeed, Diageo - owners of Guinness - are stepping into the market in an attempt to reclaim the customers who are swiftly turning to craft beer options.

Earlier this year the multi-national drinks company launched their Hop House 13 Lager, cashing in on the trend for “double-hopped lager”.

According to recently reported industry statistics, Britain now has 1,400 breweries - more per capita than any country in the world. A number that is increasing by 10% each year.

The Camra Good Beer Guide 2016 report added that the number of different real ales available in the UK now exceeds 11,000.

According to the Cask Report, real ale continues to outperform the rest of the beer market in the UK with one in six pints of beer sold in a pub now cask ale.

Another brewery at the turn of the tide in the craft beer industry was microbrewery Knockout Brewing which opened in Belfast within months of Hercules making their “only brewery in Belfast for 160 years” claim short-lived.

In the first 30 days of launch Knockout sold an impressive 80% of its initial supply resulting in the company being forced to “ramp up” production.

The market locally has become flooded with new and old brands with breweries all vying for a piece of the pie.

From Whitewater, Clanconnel, Stationworks and Pokertree breweries - around every corner of the country a new artisan producer is crafting the next taste sensation.

Recently the Mourne Mountains Brewery in Warrenpoint announced their were getting into the festive spirit with their new beet The First Noel, but they weren’t the only one as Hercules also announced the release of their Yardsman Original Double Stout on draft just in time for the Christmas rush.

And it would seem that even the celebrities are getting in on the act.

Northern Ireland telly favourite Eamonn Holmes was pictured recently supporting his 26-year-old entrepreneurial son Declan Holmes as he unveiled his North Belfast inspired Gallopers Craft Beer brand.

Despite the many new kids on the block, County Down producer Hilden Brewery remains the oldest independent brewery across Northern Ireland and the Republic.

For more information on the Craft Beer industry log onto www.camrani.org.uk