Portrush to brew its own beers

Portrush Town Hall. CR47-141pl

Portrush Town Hall. CR47-141pl

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Portrush could have its own local beers next year thanks to a group of beer loving enthusiasts hoping to establish a local microbrewery.

Lacada Brewery will be a co-operative business composed of member shareholders who will own and shape their business as well as having the opportunity to learn how to brew exceptional beers.

Spearheaded by a steering group of local business people, Lacada has spent two years in researching the brewing industry with site visits to breweries in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

With a series of public meetings held this year in Portrush it has spread its message of ‘Art in Beer, Democracy in Business’ and picked up a core group of over forty individuals who are in the process of becoming shareholders.

What does co-operation in business mean? It is a question that led the Chairman of Lacada, Laurie Davies, to seek out advice from the business wing of the main Co-operative Alternatives UK. “It is simplicity itself “, said Laurie, “and follows a tradition of communities adopting a self-help model of business, a kind of ‘all for one, one for all’ attitude. A co-operative is owned, financed and run by its members who then take a share of the profits with an annual dividend.”

As with most breweries, Lacada takes its names from a local story that is evocative of the area in which it is based. Lacada is taken from the Gaelic ‘Liach Fada’ which means ‘the longstone’ and refers to the rocky outcrop upon which the Girona foundered in 1588 .The company’s logo features the gold salamander brooch which was one of the famous jewels rescued from the wreckage.

Laurie explained: “Every beer label needs a story and we wanted a strong one that would highlight the area we live in, we aim to link in with the strong tourism of the north coast. We often hear of visitors asking where they can get a local ale, but there aren’t any. So we will ensure that our ales will be an added attraction as we plan to stock it in local bars, restaurant and off licences. We will put the beer out in bottle and cask form to satisfy demand.”

The immediate future is to secure planning approval for premises in Portrush and to attract member shareholders and raise the capital expenditure needs of £60,000. The minimum shareholding available is £100 and the maximum is £20,000.

Laurie says that the co-operative “deliberately set the minimum shareholding at £100 to make it accessible to join. The beauty of the co-operative is that it is strictly one member, one vote. What we need are the different contributions, skills and contacts and support of our community of shareholders. We want it to be a fully participatory enterprise. When we build the brewery we will be able to teach members how to brew. The opportunity to join us ends in the New Year so hurry if you want to join the new local, brewing co-op.“

The next meeting of Lacada will take place in Portrush Town Hall in early January For information visit info@lacada.com. Lacada can also be checked out on Facebook.