Belfast Telegraph

Video: It's Holmes brew as Eamonn's boy launches new beer

By John Mulgrew

Eamonn Holmes may not have much interest in beer, but son Declan says he's taking on his father's work ethic to develop Northern Ireland's latest craft ale.

Declan Holmes (26) is the man behind Gallopers, the latest brand to hit the shelves here.

And he's ploughed his experience in the drinks industry into the new brew, with a little help from his dad, the seasoned Sky News broadcaster and This Morning host.

"I've been working in the drinks industry for the past eight years. Bar work, setting up my own events company for outside bar-tendering, and I worked on the road as a sales rep with Bacardi," he explained.

He's just launched his first brew - Gallopers Golden Ale - which is being distributed across the province.

He said that Eamonn (55) had backed him to the hilt, and even helped out with the concept.

"He's been very supportive of me. He wants me to be happy, and this is what I want to do," Declan told the Belfast Telegraph.

"He wouldn't claim to know much about beer or brewing. He doesn't really drink himself.

"His main input was in the brand story."

Eamonn suggested the tale of the headless horseman of north Belfast, Galloper Thompson, an apparition on a ghostly steed said to have haunted the area.

"I have done the groundwork in terms of the beer, the labelling and the design.

"But he's been very good as a reference point for me.

"He's a very busy man, his work ethic is second to none, and it's definitely good inspiration for me to try and follow in his footsteps, albeit in a different line of work.

"If I could work half as hard as he does, I think I'll do OK."

Declan said self-employment and setting up businesses runs in the family, with his grandfather's carpeting business, and his uncle, who runs a company making screws.

"Putting the two together - a passion for beer and the dream of working for myself - is how it came about."

While the beer is currently being brewed on contract in Manchester, Declan said that he is hoping to make the move to Belfast as the bottles begin flying off the shelves.

There are also plans down the line to begin exporting.

"This is our first step into the market. We are feeling positive about it."

Declan is keeping the business in the family, with his younger brother Niall (22) helping out with the brand after finishing a marketing degree.

Declan is joining an ever-growing list of small beer companies in Northern Ireland, with around a dozen independent producers operating here at present.

But he said competition was "good" for the craft beer market.

Belfast Telegraph