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First sales in Britain for Northern Irish craft brewer

Bullhouse Craft Brewery in Northern Ireland has won its first business in Britain for its core range of beers.

Based on a family farm at Newtownards in county Down, Bullhouse is now supplying its three–strong range of craft brews, all produced in cans, to a distributor in Dumfriesshire.

William Mayne, founder of Bullhouse Craft Brewery, which is located in a shed once used to house bulls on the family farm, says: “The deal is my first outside Northern Ireland and is the result of a series of approaches to distributors of premium craft beers in Britain.

“Most of our capacity has been taken up supplying Northern Ireland customers, but we have scope to grow and so began looking at the market in Britain. We have had some good publicity since winning the Champion Beer of Belfast at Belfast Beer and Cider Festival back in November.

“This has actually just resulted in an invitation to the Great British Beer Festival held in the Olympia in London in August! We had identified Scotland and parts of England as key target markets and began to contact distributors who had been in touch with us previously but at that stage were unable to supply due to capacity constraints. 

“We sent some samples of our core range and this distributor had a keen interest as they felt it fitted into their portfolio well, especially as the products are in cans which is something they are seeing huge growth in in Scotland,” he adds.

The Bullhouse range that’s now on sale in Scotland includes the brewery’s popular Small Axe, a session India Pale Ale. The other core beers are P45, launched by Mr Mayne after he left his post in sales to brew beer full time, and The Dankness.

Bullhouse was the first brewery in Northern Ireland to produce all its beers in 330ml cans for convenience, especially in terms of winning business outside Northern Ireland, a key target for the small business.

My objective is to sell my beers in Britain, Ireland and beyond. It made sense then to invest in canning because bottles are cumbersome and difficult to ship,” he adds.

The small brewery developed from William Mayne’s passion for home brewing and was influenced by a visit to Green Flash Brewing Company in San Diego, one of California’s top micro–breweries.  

The visit encouraged him to turn a hobby into a small business, which he subsequently created in premises on the dairy and cattle farm owned by his grandparents.

A focus on innovation led him to brew the first toasted coconut porter beer, Koko, in cans and to create a beer from Guatemalan coffee beans supplied by a Belfast coffee roaster. Koko is brewed from desiccated and toasted coconut, malt barley and hops from the US. 

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E-Mail: michelle.charrington@investni.com

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