Plenty of room for craft brewers says man behind latest start up
THE man behind Northern Ireland's latest micro-brewery said there is "plenty of room" for growth in the sector despite more than 20 similar enterprising springing up over recent years.
Connaire McGreevy operates Mourne Mountains Brewery in Warrenpoint.
The company has developed three beers but has plans for many more.
Currently available on tap in a select number of bars in the south Down area, the brewery has starting bottling in recent weeks with a view to expanding throughout the north.
Mr McGreevy, who also runs home heating firm CTS Projects, said although his is the latest of many small craft brewers, the sector is still in its early stages.
"If you look at Denmark, a country with a similar population to the island of Ireland, they have a big producer Carlsberg, similar to Diageo here, and yet there are more than 200 craft breweries," he said.
"I don't really see it as the breweries all competing against one another.
"What it is doing is it's getting people out of the home and back into bars.
"They want to taste what is new that week and are moving away from drinking wines and the big brand beers."
Mr McGreevy currently employs a brewer full-time but said it is possible up to four jobs could be created by the end of the year and perhaps an opportunity for an apprentice brewer to come on board.
Mourne Mountains Brewery has already developed three beers - Mourne Gold, Red Trail and Big Rock.
It describes Mourne Gold as a "very pale ale" with a "fresh and fruity aroma"
The Red Trail IPA meanwhile is said to be "generously hopped for flavour and aroma, with a long dry finish".
Inspired by German-style wheat beers, Big Rock uses "a special yeast to produce fruity aromas which are balanced by spicy German Northern Brewer hops".
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said the growth of Mourne Mountains Brewery was important to the south Down economy.
"Congratulations and high commendations must go to Connaire McGreevy and his small team of workers who have invested resources and substantial effort into the development of this beer which can be found in several outlets in the constituency and further afield," she said.
"This is another example of a local South Down business which has demonstrated that a business idea can be developed when those involved exhibit hard work, initiative, innovation and skill. I sincerely hope that this business goes from strength to strength."