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Centenary beer from Down Under finally made available in Northern Ireland after Fermanagh Beer Company partnership

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Fermanagh Beer Company's Norman Donaldson.

Fermanagh Beer Company's Norman Donaldson.

Andrew Power has teamed up with Fermanagh Beer Company to release Six Counties in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary.

Andrew Power has teamed up with Fermanagh Beer Company to release Six Counties in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary.

Andrew Power has teamed up with Fermanagh Beer Company to release Six Counties in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary.

Andrew Power has teamed up with Fermanagh Beer Company to release Six Counties in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary.

The Northern Ireland version of Six Counties Craft Beer.

The Northern Ireland version of Six Counties Craft Beer.

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Fermanagh Beer Company's Norman Donaldson.

With the Twelfth of July just over a week away, an Australian lager celebrating the centenary of Northern Ireland will finally be made available here in time for the annual parades.

Six Counties Craft Beer, which was launched by Co Down expat Andrew Power last summer, has teamed up with Fermanagh Beer Company to quench the thirsty palette of ale lovers.

The 4.5% strength lager was only available Down Under during its brief release, but some orders were shipped here at huge expense.

An award for Six Counties soon followed after being voted as one of Australia’s top 50 craft beers in the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) hottest new brews of 2021.

Six Counties is now back on sale – and for the first time – in Northern Ireland.

After reading previous Belfast Telegraph articles on Six Counties, Fermanagh Beer Company’s Norman Donaldson reached out to Mr Power, who moved to Australia from Bangor in 2005, to congratulate him before putting the wheels in motion to release the lager to local beer enthusiasts.

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After launching the Six Counties website on Wednesday, almost half of the first batch was sold in less than 24 hours.

Fermanagh Brewing Company was bought by the Donaldson family in 2016 and made their Old Pals Bar in Derrygonnelly the first brew-pub in the county.

Mr Power, who owns Ulster Distributions and recently released Sandy Row Session Ale, previously described Six Counties as hoppy with lemon and citrus notes.

The brewers have tried to make the Northern Ireland version as close a match as possible to Six Counties Australia which was brewed by Helios.

“We’re delighted that we’re able to help a small Northern Irish business with our centenary product and we’re just delighted to work with Norman,” explained Mr Power.

“The website went live on Wednesday and we’ve got a fair bunch of pre-orders so I’m pretty sure Norman is going to be busy over the next couple of weeks.

“I’ve tasted the beer and it’s a little bit different but it has the same body and profile in that it’s light and refreshing and it’s in and around that 4.5%. It’s as close as we could get to the original Six Counties.”

Mr Power added that while Six Counties was only available for a limited time in Australia, the Northern Ireland version could be here to stay if demand remains high.

“We want to look at distribution in pubs, clubs and supporters’ clubs and this sort of thing where we think the brand will have some real legs,” he said. “That’s where I would like to see the brand going.”

Fermanagh Beer Company currently brews around 6,000 bottles of its main brand, Inishmacsaint, each month and Mr Donaldson said he’s expecting a busy Twelfth fortnight going by the large number of Six Counties pre-orders so far.

With the first batch almost ready for dispatch, Mr Donaldson said it is hoped the first round of orders will be delivered before July 12.

Commenting on the timing of Six Counties’ release, he said the cancellation of the larger centenary July 12 celebrations last year will help create momentum for the brand in the coming weeks.

“The centenary is still on the tips of people’s tongues so even though it is a year late, there will be even more celebrations now that we can get out and celebrate the way we should have 12 months ago,” added Mr Donaldson.

Six Counties Craft Beer is available to purchase via sixcountiesbeer.co.uk

One case contains 12 500ml bottles and costs £36.


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