Bright future for Belfast brewery
The only co-operative brewery in Northern Ireland, whose ‘funky modern beer’ is appreciated from Finland to Singapore to USA, is set for further expansion with support from Co-op Loan Fund.
Production at Belfast-based Boundary Brewing Co-operative has increased rapidly since it started in 2015 as demand for its high quality craft beers has boomed. Last year it expanded into the next door premises and installed a canning line, and this year, using finance from Co-op Loan Fund, it has bought three 2,000L fermenters which will increase production by 150%.
There are several reasons for Boundary’s spectacular success. The first, of course, is the quality of the beer. Head brewer Matthew Dick has set out to make the best tasting and most memorable beer he can – beer that no one else in Northern Ireland is making. The Boundary range includes American-style craft IPA, creamy extra pale malt, Berliner Weisse with blood orange, Belgian pale ale, smooth export Stout, and much more. New specials are introduced frequently.
The second reason is the co-operative structure. Boundary Brewing Co-operative has over 1,300 members who have invested in the business. The first share issue in 2014 raised £90,000 in eight days, a record for community shares. Most members are enthusiastic beer drinkers who are happy to promote the products.
The third reason for success is the distinctive creative branding. The cans feature original abstract paintings by Belfast artist John Robinson, who has a studio in the brewery. Boundary cans are becoming collectable items.
Matthew Dick said: “Last year saw us move from a bottling machine to canning line, take the unit next door, begin to build a lab, get more storage space, expand from a 400L brewery to 2400L brewery, add a tiny bit of capacity and now we can brew a better volume of beer in a much healthier timeframe. We now have the space, brewing time, and finances to add further capacity as we like. We are pretty excited about 2019”.
Ian Rothwell, Investment Manager of Co-operative & Community Finance which manages Co-op Loan Fund, said: “We moved very quickly to finance the next stage of this inspiring venture. The loan was released just 13 days after I visited them. I know a good co-op business when I see it – and a good beer when I taste it.”