Belfast brewery delighted as 250,000 can sales bring clean water to thousands of people
A not-for-profit brewery founded by a Belfast beer fanatic has struck a deal to supply one of the UK's biggest supermarket chains.
Brewgooder's Clean Water Lager will be stocked in Asda stores across Northern Ireland over the next few weeks.
The firm, which was founded by Belfast-born entrepreneur Alan Mahon (27) in March 2016 is the world's first craft beer brewery to donate 100% of its profits to clean water projects in developing countries.
Brewgooder's brew will hit more than 350 Asda stores across the UK, including 16 in Northern Ireland.
Already, the brand - which was founded just 14 months ago - has sold 250,000 cans and has helped bring clean drinking water to more than 4,000 people.
Alan grew up in Belfast but moved to Ballycastle aged 11, where he lived until he moved to Scotland for university.
However, he makes regular return visits to Northern Ireland to see his family, who now live in Mallusk.
"It's of huge personal significance that Brewgooder is now stocked in Asda in Northern Ireland," said Alan.
He struck a deal with Asda a few months ago to list the product in some British stores, but for Alan, his real excitement was to see the product stocked somewhere his mum could pick it up.
Since October 2016, when it was first listed in Scottish Asda stores, the Brewgooder brand has established itself as the front-running social enterprise beer brand, selling nearly 100,000 cans in stores in just six months.
Alan worked alongside Scottish craft beer firm Brewdog to create the right taste, but working with an established brewery also had other advantages, meaning production could be quickly ramped up to service large retailers.
As a result, Brewgooder has facilitated two wells in Malawi, including the Nora Docherty Well in Dedza, giving more than 5,000 people clean water. A further four wells are in the pipeline due to the increased listing. Alan added: "Seeing first-hand the impact our wells are having on communities was motivating and inspiring and it's thanks to support from Asda that we have truly been able to make a difference.
"Giving people the unique opportunity to enjoy a great product while at the same time helping others is a powerful combination, and by working closely with our customers and consumers we are helping to transform thousands of lives for generations to come."
Alan met co-founder Josh Littlejohn at a festival in Edinburgh and was amazed by his work founding Social Bite, a charity which employs homeless people to make sandwiches and reinvests its profits in helping homeless people.
Alan got involved in Social Bite, but an incident which left him sick after drinking dirty water when he was traveling in Nepal left him wanting to help make clean water available everywhere in the world.
"I had all the drugs and treatment to make me better. I realised that for me this is a risk I take when I'm traveling, but for 650 million people this is a chance they are taking every single day. Around 900 children die every day due to cholera, malaria and related illnesses."
Brewgooder's first project saw a 3,000 litre solar-powered water tank fitted at the Nora Docherty School in Malawi. The tank is replenished every four hours.
The second project saw a well fitted in Phirilongwe, an isolated village of almost 2,000 people.
Alan said: "My mum always told me to use my talents to help other people. I figured I could do that either in working for the government or working for a charity, so I put my eggs in one basket and applied for one job in the Department of International Development - I didn't get it. I grew up not really knowing what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do things for other people, so when I met Alan and came up with the idea for Brewgooder it seemed to really click for me.
"I decided to make a craft beer because it was something I really loved - if you can drink beer and at the same time help others to get clean drinking water, it makes sense to consumers."