Belfast Telegraph

McKeever's diversification into cider brewing beginning to bear fruit

By Clare Weir

A FATHER and son team of brewers are aiming for a slice of the Northern Ireland drinks market with the launch of a new range of craft cider.

The McKeever family, who have been growing apples at Long Meadow Farm for more than 50 years, are hoping that the move will help to sustain the existing apple-growing business and lead to further job creation as demand increases.

As well as dad Peter and son Pat, Peter and his wife Catherine's four daughters are also involved in the running of the business and Long Meadow Cider is the result of an ambitious diversification programme.

The McKeevers grow and harvest apples from 120 acres in Co Armagh, 30 of which are on the home farm.

The family historically grew apples that were used for processing and baking but the family now produces cider in two varieties, sweet and medium, served in 500ml bottles with an alcohol content of 4.5%.

The products will be on display at the Balmoral Show next week and the family aims to target export markets in Europe as well as adding a third cider in time for Christmas.

Pat McKeever said that since launching just before Christmas, the product has won listings with bars, restaurants, hotels and off-licenses across Northern Ireland.

"It has involved considerable time and effort, not to mention investment, but it is now beginning to pay dividends." he said.

Belfast Telegraph