The unique taste of beer from Hilden Brewery is set to break into new export markets in the coming 12 months.
The planned expansion into markets as far afield as Canada, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic Region is expected to lead to the creation of at least three more fulltime jobs at Ireland’s longest established independent brewery.
And in 2015 the family owned business will see its export targets fixed on breaking into the vast potential of China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Seamus Scullion, who along with his wife Ann, founded the company in 1981 has seen his passion for craft brewing transform Hilden Brewery into a brand with an international quality reputation.
He stressed that the commitment of Hilden Brewery continues to be one of bringing the craft beer experience to an increasingly diverse range of customers.
“Our market research shows there is a growing taste for our products across all age groups and backgrounds. Genuine craft beers, for example, have a brand image that is increasingly attractive to young professional women.
“That greater awareness of what craft beers have to offer will be demonstrated at the 30th anniversary of the Hilden Beer and Music Festival next August. People from all ages and backgrounds will have an opportunity to tap into a truly different taste experience.”
The qualities of the wide range of beers and ales produced by Hilden Brewery has been underlined by the company seeing off competition from over 130 rival craft brewers.
By winning the top prize at the International Craft Brewing and Distilling Convention in Dublin Hilden Brewery’s Twisted Hop brand came out on top against rivals from across the UK, Europe and the North America.
The company now plans to build on that success with the creation of additional facilities as part of a wider development project at the Hilden site just outside Lisburn.
It will include the company setting up its own state of the art bottling plant in order to cope with a doubling in maximum brewing capacity from 7,000 hectolitres to 14,000 hectolitres.
In the coming 12 months the Hilden Brewery complex will also be expanded to include a new business administration block, a tasting hall which will be part of organized tours of the brewery and a gift shop.
News of the brewery’s export drive and its plans to invest in new technology techniques was given at a special reception held by the Mayor of Lisburn.
Councillor Margaret Tollerton praised Hilden Brewery for contribution it has made to the economic and tourism life of the city over the last three decades.
And the Chair of Stormont’s All Party Group for Small Business, Judith Cochrane MLA, has described the achievement of Hilden Brewery as “an inspiration.”
“By showcasing successful local businesses such as Hilden Brewery it acts as the platform for other small and medium sized organization to also maximise their full potential.
“Hilden Brewery is a superb example of a niche market company that has proved how a vision can be transformed into a business that continues to grow and evolve,” she added.