Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man risks brewing up a storm with his wife over backyard beer factory

By Eamon Sweeney

A Northern Ireland man risked the wrath of his wife after he returned home with a complete brewery and set it up in the backyard of their Australian home.

Sheree Phillip (33) was at their property in a suburb of Sydney when husband Dave Henderson (39) pulled up in a removal truck containing all the equipment needed to kick-start his dream of launching his own craft beer empire.

The unsuspecting wife was stunned to learn that Dave had purchased a shed, refrigeration equipment and an entire microbrewery system from sellers on Gumtree.

The brewing gear has taken up almost all of the space in the couple's back garden.

An engineer by trade, Dave learned how to brew while working in Australia's Northern Territory.

However, mastering the beer-making art gave him a hankering to launch his own brand of what the Aussies call 'grog'.

"I thought it was ridiculous, but at the same time it was so typical of Dave to do something like this," Sheree told the Daily Mail.

"When he puts his mind to something, he'd just do it.

"He initially told me he was going to get some bits and pieces but he came back with a full-blown brewery. My first reaction was, 'What have you done'." But Sheree has now pitched in to help her husband get the business off the ground and they've already launched their first craft beer - Hop and Clover.

Dave said: "She was shocked when I turned up with a kegerator - a cold filter system for pouring beer - a large garden shed and a microbrewery fit-out, which I managed to save AU$10,000 (£6,000) on versus if I had bought it new. Then it was just a matter of a bit of persuasion and also making sure Sheree was heavily involved in the quality control process."

And despite a bit of opposition to the idea from some family members and strange looks from friends, the business venture is continuing at pace.

"My dad is very old-school so he initially tried to talk us out of it," Sheree said.

"He wasn't impressed with the backyard brewery. We had a few side glances, people saying we're silly."

But despite the doubts from others, the enterprising couple have already begun work on a variety of further craft beers including Bexley Red Ale and Rockdale Pale Ale, both of which are named after Sydney suburbs.

Sheree added: "It's a lot nicer than what you get in your commercial pub. Our goal is that in two-and-a-half years we want to open our own brewery."

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