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Northern Ireland man brews up something special to mark the centenary

Co Down expat and Australian craft beer specialist link up to make celebratory lager

An expat from Co Down has created a limited edition lager in Australia to celebrate the centenary of Northern Ireland.

Bangor man Andrew Power (46), who launched Six Counties Craft Beer this week, said he became emotional when he saw the finished beer on the production line as it reminded him of a “bit of back home”.

The Northern Ireland football fan travelled Down Under in 2005 as a backpacker but loved the lifestyle so much he decided to stay.

He lives in Brisbane with partner Donna and children Cooper (11) and Charlotte (5).

The owner of Ulster Distributions, which distributes beer, wines and other products to bottle shops and bars across south east Queensland, Andrew spoke to craft brewers Helios about creating the centenary lager.

Six Counties is described as a session lager, and has a strength of 4.5%. A case of 24 cans costs Au$80 (£44).

Andrew described the taste as “hoppy, with refined and complex lemon and orange citrus notes”.

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He told the Belfast Telegraph that he spoke to brewer Helios, who he distributes for through his business, a couple of months ago about the idea as the Brisbane area has a large expat community.

“Helios kept doing limited releases and they have their own sort of core portfolio if you like, so I said I would love to do a special limited release for the Northern Ireland centenary,” he explained.

“Scott Schomer, who owns the brewery, was really on board with the idea and I spoke to the head brewer and we had a little bit of a chat.

“It just all fell into place very quickly. It’s been going great and we just released it on Wednesday.

“I have had lots of friends going mad for it, and obviously the Northern Irish expat community out here have loved it.

“I have had nothing but good feedback on it so it’s been really positive and really nice to sort of bring the Northern Irish community together here.”

Andrew will host a brand launch night on July 4 in Helios’ brewery, where those in attendance can enjoy a few cans of Six Counties.

He has also invited his friends from the Brisbane Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club.

“There’s quite a few of supporters’ clubs out here, just lads from back home,” he said.

“I guess we really formed during Euro 2016 and the numbers were very strong. We get together every so often to go bowling or bring the families to the beach, so everyone is coming along to the brewery.

“We’ve got a good beer to celebrate with so I’m pretty happy with it.

“When I saw the beers on the line the other day I thought it was brilliant, and I actually got overwhelmed and emotional about it, just to see that wee bit of back home in a can.

“There’s so much bad stuff coming out of back home with politics and Covid, so it just felt good to do this and I felt pretty proud as a Northern Irishman.”

To find out more about Six Counties Craft Beer, contact Andrew via email on andrew@ulsterdistributions.com.au

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