Bo Bristle – a new star is born
Sitting over dinner one evening recently it struck me just how many local food producers we have on our doorstep here in the Midlands. Within a couple of minutes of having the thought, I had 15 names scribbled on a piece of paper – all within a 10/20 mile radius of Redwood.
As the thought developed, I decided it was time to share the stories of some of these local food heroes with you. Some only sell locally, some sell nationally, others have even gone international, but one thing they all have in common is a passion and enthusiasm for what it is they do.
Over the coming months, I hope to introduce you to a diverse range of products, but let’s kick off with a beer brewer from Banagher (is that alliteration?).
Andrew Horn moved from the UK to Ireland in 2009, just as our now famous recession was starting. Andrew graduated with an Manufacturing Engineering degree but his career up to 2009 had been in the IT sector.
On arriving in Ireland, Andrew found it difficult to gain employment in the IT sector so a career change was considered.
He missed the variety of ales and beers from home. Andrew always had a passion and obsession for quailty beer – and was known to brew beer for fellow stduents while at university
Andrew did his research….. did you know?
Craft beers are the most exciting and fastest growing segment of the beer business worldwide. In a slow economy, craft beer is outperforming all other beer categories. In particular, the US and UK have witnessed double digit growth for consecutive years and the trend is being followed in Ireland.
It was time for Andrew and his business partner, Morgan Smyth, to think about developing this idea. They approached Offaly County Enterprise Board for a grant and from there there was no turning back.
We met Andrew for the first time a couple of months back, and since then have grown to really, really like his Amber Ale. We have introduced friends – Mona and Ron - to his beers and they too have been impressed to the extent that they’ve introduced it to their friends
He is doing good things with his all natural beers which are brewed just up the road from us in Banagher, Co. Offaly.
What are your main business areas?
We produce a lot of draught beer under contract for Carrig Craft Brewing Limited – Carrig lager 4.3% abv and Rowers Red Ale 4.3% abv. We produce all the beer using our own special recipes and Carrig distribute the beer under their name.
The two beers are sold in many pubs around the country, however the majority of the customers are located in Dublin.
In the last 12 months we have started to produce beer under our own brand name ‘Bo Bristle’. We produce a range of Irish Craft Beers for draught & bottle sale. So far we have two craft beers rolled out; Bo Bristle IPA (draught) and Bo Bristle Amber Ale (bottle).
Tell me about the name ‘Bo Bristle’?
The name Bo Bristle came from Celtic legend where great importance is attached to the bristles of the boar. They were the distinguishing characteristic of the animal and symbolic of its strength.
Boar hunting features in several stories of Celtic and Irish mythology and one such story is how ‘Fionn Mac Cumhaill’ lured his rival ‘Diarmuid Ua Duibhne’ to his death; gored by the powerful bristle of the boar.
Our beers are likewise known for their strength, flavour and character.
What makes Bo Bristle different to other beers/ales?
Bo Bristle beers are brewed in small batches using traditional brewing methods. They are produced from 100% natural ingredients and are completely chemical free which differentiates us from the majority of mass produced beers on the market today. In addition, Bo Bristle beers are exciting, full of flavour and character.
We are able to produce small batches of various styles of beer for profit. Large breweries are unable to achieve the same diversity and still turn a profit.
We have invested in the development of a strong and vibrant brand which, we believe, will substantially assist in the success of future marketing campaigns and sales growth.
Who do you supply to? Mainly local shops/pubs or is it all on site?
We’re only just getting started with the bottles but we hope to expand our sales in the coming weeks/months.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
The first year was very challenging, we faced many hurdles with planning permission for the brewery and also the application to become a bonded warehouse. These two particular problems meant that even after building the brewery we were unable to legally sell any product for the first 12 months.
What is the next challenge? New range, location change etc…
Fortunately we’re now in a position of running the brewery at full capacity, so the next challenge will be to try and expand the production. The long term plan is to build a much bigger plant. We will also be increasing our range at the same time.
How important is social media to your organisation?
Social media is very important to small companies such ourselves to help with much needed marketing opportunities at minimal/zero cost.
Can people come visit your plant?
Not at the moment I’m afraid, however when we expand into our new brewery then we’ll be encouraging visitors for sure.
As the legend on the Bo Bristle bottle says ‘Don’t mess with the boar’….. and this is certainly no beer to mess with. It is really good and goes terrifically well with pork
We’d recommend going that bit out of your way to get your hands on a couple of bottles.
Bo Bristle, Banagher, Co. Offaly.
Tel: Andrew on 086 125 0283