Bernard Sloan – MD Whitewater Brewery

Bernard Sloan – MD Whitewater Brewery


Hi, I’m Bernhard Sloan Managing Director
of the Whitewater Brewing Companyompany in Castlewellen. Well, we’re classified as a microbrewery or a craft brewery. We brew all kinds of
lagers, ales and stouts and package them in bottles, kegs and cans. Craft beer has
a bit more of an emphasis on flavour, we’re using premium hops and we’re
producing beers that are generally matured longer and are fuller flavored than
the mass-produced beers. I decided to start the the beer business itself in
Northern Ireland after living and working in England.
I worked initially as an engineer, I was exposed to all different types of beers
that we probably weren’t exposed to and different flavours and styles and this is
something I wanted to replicate back home in Northern Ireland. We were based on a farm about
16 miles from here in the village of Atticall. It was a fifth-generation farm
and we did a farm diversification grant at that stage, plus also our own funding
and a bit of bank funding. We started with a gas-fired 800 litre tank, we’ve now
progressed from 1996 to 2000 with a 2000 litre plant. We’re now had a 7,000 litre
brew size. Sales and in the beginning were challenging there’s no other way
in saying that. With the market, with cask beer only, you are very very limited in
that style. We found that from 2006 when we installed our bottling line we
were able to reach a bigger audience. So, sales have grown
exponentially, especially in this past three to four years.
Key milestones in our business growth would have been the installation of our
bottling line in 2006. Prior to that we were selling our beer in cask only, cask
conditioned beer. The audience then was was opened up to the supermarket’s and to
export sales at that stage as well. Also, moving into new premises a couple of
years back has allowed us to increase our output,
larger brew sizes. Those have been the two main mile stones for us.
Alcohol is a very very competitive market. Our business as a craft
brewery is based on creating a high quality product at a good price. So, we
have to, we can’t compete with the larger multiples so we are very much working on
the basis of producing award-winning beers and getting ourselves noticed
in different competitions over the world. Currently, where our, probably our
largest market outside and the United Kingdom would be Russia. After that we’re
selling it to Japan and other European countries as well. Our Bewery Tour would last
about an hour to an hour and a half and it takes you through the journey plan of
Whitewater from 1996. We also went to the brewery itself, and that’s very much
part of what we wanted people to see what we’re doing, what our brew day is, how it
starts, the ingredients that we’re using, they’re seeing the hops that we’re
buying from all over the world and they’re smelling the great aromas of
them. So, right through the whole process of seeing how beer is made, at how its
packaged and then importantly back into the brewery itself to see
the beers, taste the beers and all sorts of people to see our little brew school that we’re now
starting as well. On the tour we’d like people to learn the difference between
craft brewery and a mass-produced beer. That’s very much into the
letting people see how the the great ingredients are using the and also the
time that we’re taking to make the beer and that’s very important to let people
see. In this day and age when a pint of beer is quite expensive we want people
to see what was goes in to it and the passion that
comes from Whitewater to get that pint on to the bar counter.

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