World’s most remote brewery builds local following
The world’s most remote microbrewery on the Falkland Islands is building a local following, despite difficulties with supply and a market largely unused to real ale.
Opened by fifth generation islander Jeff Halliday last month, such has been the success of his first beer that he has released a second and has further plans to enlarge his brewery.
Speaking to the drinks business, he explained that a stint working in the UK several years ago had introduced him to real ale and upon returning to the Falklands he determined to set up his own microbrewery – although it was not until last year that his plan came to fruition.
“I wanted to set up the business as I’m a big fan of real ale,” he said. “I did some work in the UK and discovered it but there were no breweries on the Falklands and so I decided to set something up.
“I thought, ‘if other small breweries can work on a small output so can I.”
Having ordered the necessary equipment, he was accepted onto a scheme run by Stanley Services, which provides grants to islanders looking to better themselves and expand the island’s economy.
Coming to the UK last October, he took and passed two courses in practical brewing run by BrewLabs.
His first beer, Maiden Bitter – named after local flower Pale Maiden – was released last month and won a contract with the Malvina House Hotel for 100 litres every 10 days.
Maiden Bitter has been such a success that Halliday told db he had completely run out of stock and had also just introduced a new bitter – Longdon Pride, named after one of the mountains outside Stanley.
In comparison to Maiden, which was a lighter ale, Longdon is a fully fledged best bitter.
Halliday said that one of the chief difficulties in selling beer on the island is the predominance of lager such as Heineken and Budweiser.
“The islanders aren’t used to darker beers,” he conceded and a further hindrance is that most pubs do not have cellars, still less any knowledge of how to run a proper cellar – another job for Halliday.
Although the cost of beer on the island is hardly that of London, or even some rural parts of the UK, at £2.50 to £3.20 a pint depending on where it is sold
(more expensive at the Malvina), the beer is the “premium” offering on the island where a can of Boddingtons can be bought for £1.80 in a pub.
As the beer has sold well however, more of a challenge is keeping up with demand due to the length of time it takes Halliday to receive vital ingredients and equipment.
“From ordering to when I can use it is usually two to three months,” he explained.
“The cost of raw materials is quite high so it will be more expensive.”
With plans to expand the brewery, he currently has equipment and supplies en route from the UK and once it arrives he will be able to grow from his current six casks a month to, “a two and a half barrel plant with nine casks per brew”.
So despite the hurdles, hopes of further success are high. Halliday is keen to sell to other pubs on the island and to the military bases as well and he has had calls asking for stock.
“I’ve got interest from the other pubs but I can’t supply them yet. Last thing I want to do is promise them beer and then run out,” he said, adding that he will be in a better position to supply more venues when his new equipment arrives.