Over the weekend of 21stJuly 2018 you may have seen an influx of beer activity across social media platforms, as well as a swarm of Boundary BrewingT-shirts in the City Centre. What was going on?
Well Boundary was celebrating their 3rdBirthday! Each year as they grow, so to do their birthday celebrations.
This year we seen a 3-day celebration across their Taproom & the Sunflower Bar, featuring arguably one of the most ridiculous taplists NI has possibly ever seen in a bar featuring the likes of Track Brewing Co(Manchester), Northern Monk Brewing Company (Leeds), Deya Brewing Company(Cheltenham), Odyssey Brew Co(Herefordshire) & Verdant(Cornwall).
Where have the years gone? It almost feels like yesterday when Boundary had opened their first share offering in December 2014; so much has changed since then & they are not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
If you do not know who Boundary Brewing are, they are a co-operative brewery based in Belfast focused on curating beer recipes that highlight modern brewing styles & techniques whilst having its members & community at the heart of the business.
Matthew Dick, head brewer & co founder, draws a lot of his influences from his own beer journey, citing his stint in America & many trips to Belgium as key inspirations. That time in America was during a period of the American Craft Beer Revolution, where craft breweries were rapidly churning out new styles; and when you can enjoy the wares of Cantillion, Orval etc you are bound to draw some influence from these historic beers.
This can all be seen by the variety of styles that Boundary have made since 2014 – around 70 different styles across 500+ Gyles to date.
In the last three years we have seen them grow via two share offerings to 1100 members, exporting to a number of different markets such as Denmark, Italy, mainland UK, France & many more. Boundary has also introduced us to Mal McCayof the Heaney Brewery, brought a stack of collaborations to the NI scene, employed Mark (who brought us Bloody Chancer & Almark) and are now setting their sights on the next phase of expansion, including extending their premises as well as their offering.
Now getting back to the birthday celebrations, this year they invited some of the most exciting UK breweries here to NI.
In attendance we had Adam Robertson of Verdant, Colin Strong of NMBco, Theo Freyne from Deya, Will Harris from Track and Mitch & Alison Evans of Odyssey Brew Co. The attendance of these established breweries shows just how much Boundary are respected within the scene.
All of which took this change of scenery in their stride and embraced the festivities. They were very welcoming to the scene and engaged with everyone in discussions, drinks, as well as a few brewery talks at the Sunflower. Some of these brewers have connections with Ireland and it was nice to see them back here reminiscing, telling stories about their time here and highlighting the changes since their last visit.
For me this was important for the scene to experience these beers from arguably some of the most talked about or sought-after breweries within the UK. It also allowed us an opportunity to give them a first-hand insight into a market that often gets easily overlooked, mingle with members of the community, get a feel for what these potential consumers believe is relevant or a must for them. This in turn will hopefully aid in bringing these breweries back through the likes of beer festivals, potentially open or improve distribution links and lastly, and somewhat selfishly, we will see an increased amount of their products on our shelves quicker & fresher!
A potential knock-on effect that could happen (which could take months or even years before the market reaps the benefits) by having these beers more readily available, could possibly influence how local breweries go about their own processes, recipe building, quality control etc. and could arguably help them develop further & enter into new markets.
For me personally this is an exciting time for Boundary, not only as a shareholder, but also as a customer – so here’s to the next phase!
Lastly, a special shoutout to all the staff at the Sunflower for looking after everyone, top class service and all round legends! To the team at Boundary for throwing one hell of a party & Nelson Sauvinfor bringing some of those epic beers across for the party!