A co-operative brewery from Northern Ireland is investing over £100,000 in a two-year expansion plan that will help to create new jobs in Ards and North Down.
Farmageddon Brewery Co-operative Limited is a Comber-based craft beer enterprise that was set up in 2013 by seven friends with a mutual interest in home brewing.
The beer produced by the co-op is unpasteurised and unfiltered, contains no preservatives and uses natural carrigan from Strangford Lough as an alternative, making it suitable for vegans.
“We don’t want to leave anybody out from enjoying the beer,” explains Eoin Wilson, one of the seven founding members of the co-op. It all started two years ago after he got married and moved to the countryside. Wedding guests were among the first to test the new home-brewed product. The barn where the event took place now hosts the brewery.
The co-op did not start trading until 2014 but expansion was always one of their main objectives, says Mr Wilson. He explained how the bank loan has enabled them to invest in new equipment to make the process more efficient and obtain a better product.
During his visit at the brewery’s premises, enterprise minister Jonathan Bell said: “Farmageddon is an exciting young business committed to making the most of the growing popularity for craft beer across a range of international markets.”
The brewery has also received funding from Invest Northern Ireland, a government-funded regional business development agency that is part of Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
“The investment in new equipment, marketing and job creation is welcome news for Ards and North Down creating new employment opportunities in the region. Invest Northern Ireland has offered £16,500 to support Farmageddon’s development strategy which include market visits, attending trade shows and recruiting four new jobs over the next two years. These activities will enable the company to expand its product range and raise awareness of its products in its target markets.”
Susan Jackson, also a member of Farmageddon Brewery Co-operative Limited, said: “Our aim over the next two years is to increase awareness among potential new customers by carrying out market visits and attending trade shows such as the Craft Beer Rising festival in February.
“Invest NI’s assistance is enabling us to implement these growth plans and explore new business opportunities in markets such as China and Mexico.”