Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Beer and Cider Festival is all the fun of the local pub at the Ulster Hall

By Gary Grattan

The Belfast Beer and Cider Festival has got underway in the Ulster Hall.

Now in its 15th year, the event has steadily grown from strength to strength.

Whilst the rest of the UK has seen a massive expansion in independent breweries over the last 30 years, Northern Ireland has, for various reasons, been slower to follow the trend.

But that is all changing. In the past year alone several new brewing companies have started up in the province - not just for beer but also for cider which is rapidly growing in popularity.

And importantly the ventures are also creating new employment opportunities.

The Festival is organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Festival organiser Trevor Burton said: "One of the key aspects of he festival is the opportunity for new breweries and existing ones to launch new products to the trade and, of course, to get feedback from customers.

"It is all about bring more choice to Northern Ireland."

Amongst the new breweries are Pokertree, Farmageddon, Hercules, Ards and Clanconnell who are joining established brewers Hilden and Whitewater in offering cask conditioned real ales.

For more information go to www.belfastbeerfestival.co.uk

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