Many of your local breweries are finding times incredibly tough right now.
Rising prices of energy and ingredients (among other things) mean breweries are being squeezed for every penny. Who knows how many breweries out there are on the verge of folding but recently we learned that one of Northern Ireland’s oldest craft breweries, Farmageddon, had to call it a day. It’s weird to think they were one of our longest standing breweries as I vividly recall attending their launch night in 2014 upstairs at what used to be known as Aether & Echo – now the Deer’s Head pub in Belfast.
Back then they started off with a trio of Gold pale ale, IPA and Porter but the range grew to include the likes of red ale, rye IPA, US wheat beer, barleywine and even cider! I recall the first Farmageddon beer to really hook me in was the Mosaic SMASH of 2014. You know that feeling when you take a sip of a new beer and you know it’s going to be fun? I loved that beer and so did many others. That single malt and single hop (SMASH) release manifested into what would become Mosaic IPA – becoming part of the core range, one of the brewery’s most popular beers and was voted CAMRA NI‘s Champion Beer of the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival 2016.
Mosaic IPA was a gateway beer for many who sought something different from the macro taps. Indeed, for a lot of now well seasoned craft-heads, Farmageddon was one of the first – if not the first – Northern Irish microbrewery they had the pleasure of trying back in 2014/2015.
This led people who would have been macro tap drinkers to expand their palate, broaden their horizon and experience many different beer styles in the following months – one of these styles may have been the acclaimed 2016 Baltic Porter. This cracking limited release was brewed with coffee beans and aged in an Irish whiskey cask, a world away from a pint of Guinness.
As I said at the start, times are exceptionally tough for breweries right now. They need your support more than ever and I fear Farmageddon’s closure won’t be the last in Northern Ireland this year. Other local breweries are in a very difficult position while some have gone quiet over the past few months. Ultimately, time will tell how they’ll fare. In the meantime go grab a can or bottle of your favourite local beer – it might not be here forever.
Thanks to all the Farmageddon gang and best of luck for the future.