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Council initiative helps Hillstown Brewery win business in Britain

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Hillstown Brewery has won its first business in Britain with help from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Food NI.

Hillstown Farm Shop

The brewery is now supplying its full range of craft beers and ales to Cotswold Fayre in Reading, a leading speciality food and drink wholesaler, supplying independent retailers, farm shops and delis across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The contract, the brewery’s first significant business in Britain, follows the participation by the farm-based micro-brewery with the council and Food NI at the big Speciality and Fine Food Show at Olympia in London last October.

Nigel Logan, founder and managing director of the business, part of an extensive livestock farm just outside Randalstown, commenting on the agreement with Cotswold Fayre, says: “Taking part with the council and Food NI at Speciality Food enabled us to meet and showcase our range of beers to the wholesaler. We had tried contacting them directly by email without success in the past in a bid to persuade them to sample our beers.

“Speciality Food is the UK’s biggest show for artisan and smaller food companies, and we decided avail of support from the council in conjunction with Food NI to attend the show in the hope that we would meet key buyers from wholesalers such as Cotswold Fayre. I greatly appreciate the encouragement and practical support we are receiving from the council to grow our brewing business.

“We had been looking for an opportunity to break into the British market. So, taking part at Speciality Fayre was an extremely worthwhile experience. It proved to be the way to meet buyers face-to-face and to invite them to sample our beers,” he adds.

The buyer enjoyed the beers and was attracted by Hillstown’s unique and eye-catching branding,” Mr Logan continues. “Cotswold Fayre includes a large number of farm shops among its clients and reckoned that our beers like our award-winning Goats Butt wheat and hybrid beer, a two-star Great Taste winner, Horny Bull Stout, Henrietta Hen West Coast IPA and Squealing Pig IPA would appeal to farm shop customers in particular,” he adds.

Mr Logan will be supporting Cotswold Fayre at marketing events for Hillstown Brewery’s range of beers to customers in Britain.

Congratulating Hillstown Brewery on its success in Britain, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, says: “This is very good news for one of the borough’s most ambitious smaller enterprises, which is growing impressively from its base on a successful local farm. It’s become an important role model of the sort of successful farm diversification that the council is keen to encourage and support through our focus on business and especially in sales outside Northern Ireland.

“This focus on expanding opportunities for smaller companies in particular is designed to promote employment opportunities throughout the borough, a key priority of our Amplify strategy, to grow the borough’s economy,” she adds.

Food NI’s Chief Executive Michele Shirlow adds: “We are thrilled by Hillstown Brewery success following the company’s participation in council’s initiative in conjunction with us at Speciality Food in London. Creating opportunities for our companies to meet buyers in Britain is an important aspect in the range of services we provide for the local food and drink industry.

“We are delighted to be working alongside Mid and East Antrim Council as it seeks to enhance the local economy through supporting business participation at important marketing events in Britain, our single most important market for our fabulous food and drink. We are delighted to have been appointed by council to work on a programme of activities to strengthen the overall competitiveness of food processors and hospitality operators both here and in markets such as Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.”

For more information on our business programmes visit the Amplify Mid and East Antrim website.