Without doubt our best and strongest year at Boundary.
Here’s a couple of highlights and personal reflections. We’ve had to leave loads out.
End of December 2017.
I ended the last Director’s meeting of 2017 with a not-uncommon wildcard.
‘I think we should take the unit next door, build a bigger brewhouse ourselves and spend the money we don’t have on more fermentation capacity and move to cans. But first we should rest, and revisit this idea in Jan (2018)’
So we did.
It took almost half the year to get enough of the details in place to begin our expansion, but it did quickly become my biggest focus of the year.
January began with a rather humongous feather in the cap. We sent our beer to the States with Shelton Brothers.
We were very excited to work with them. And to get beer to the States. It’s where I lived for 5-6 years. It’s where my love for great beer went into overdrive. So it was like the Circle of Life. Only better.
‘'The collaboration between Boundary and Robinson is harmonious and visually arresting one which takes incredible beer and turns it into a unmissable experience with its own untold narrative.'’
The guys and girls at HonestBrew are some of the most beautiful people in the industry. And Cormac is quickly becoming a good and understanding friend.
Oh, and we won more Ratebeer Awards too.
In February we were so excited and honoured to be invited to Beavertown brewery.
February also saw us attach our first ever Tri-clamp. #winning
And we added Finnish and Belgian markets to our distribution.
March saw a Sensational day here at Brasserie D'Boundarié.
For 3 years now we’d been bottle conditioning all our beers.
It's what we knew and we loved the mouthfeel it gave.
But as our IPAs have improved, we'd been wanting to carbonate them differently.
Now most of our beers are force carbonated in tanks.
We were also invited over to Northern Monk to brew and celebrate St Patrick’s Day with them.
Mark danced a lot.
This trip was one of two trips in 2018 that have really impacted us.
Russell at Northern Monk has a burning ambition. And it’s matched with a really healthy and beautiful sense of who he is. It’s pretty special. We have learnt a lot from these guys and they have quickly become close friends.
We added Holland to our distribution markets. Jose is awesome. A very classy lady.
So in April I found myself nervous as shit as I was pacing back and forth before recording a podcash with GBH. I don’t normally get nervous speaking. But I was this time.
I Finished the Podcast feeling quite proud of what we have achieved. And how we have achieved it. And feeling especially proud of Belfast. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I thought that was ever possible before that chat. So thanks Matt. And thanks Michael. You can listen here.
April was also the release of our now annual collab with the Sunflower.
Wit’s Out was a Coriander and Lemongrass Wheat Beer.
To be honest, Pedro at the Sunflower deserves his own blog here. Suffice to say, he’s the only person in the world I’d brew a Wheat Beer for.
May was more events. Events. They’ve been key for us. Coming from little old beautiful NI, there’s little to no reputation (at best...) for beers brewed here. Events have helped us spread the word and allow us some face to face time with the Boundary drinking masses. We don’t really get this any other way :-(
We brewed an absolutely delicious Export Export Stout collab with some old friends in Manchester. Here's a video.
And we went to a (now annual?!) Coffee & Beer Festival.
We really love Manchester.
It reminds us of Belfast.
In a good way.
So when we were invited in June to pour at Little Summer Beer Bash, we couldn’t but look to extend our time there and brew with our friends at Cloudwater.
Our experience there has also left a mark on us. Seeing a team that was united, content, present with each other. It was refreshing. And rare.
And their production setup is dialled in somewhere quite close to perfection.
It’s good to see those places.
And we finally found an Italian distributor.
July was all about our 3rd Birthday & AGM.
And brewed an Imperial Oatmeal Pecan Vanilla Cookie Stout.
And celebrated with our monthly Birthday Taproom and annual Birthday Party at the Sunflower.
In August our canning line arrived.
More of our thoughts on cans here.
We spent September finding our feet with the new canning line.
And went to London to pour some of our Saison at a small intimate event with some breweries we’ve long admired.
Oh, and we collabed at home with DOT and our 2nd, 3rd and 4th collab of the year with Northern Monk.
Because. Why not?
October saw our annual pilgrimage to Indyman.
It’s extremely very special.
And we also had the immense privilege to go pour at Shelton Fest.
Shelton. It was the first time I’ve ever looked around in a Festival and didn’t have imposter syndrome.
There was even some time off in between all the travelling to celebrate 11 years of marriage bliss.
Thanks to Philadelphia, New York and Suarez Family Brewery for hosting us wonderfully during that time.
And we started to send beer off to Sunny Spain. They love the G.O.A.T.
In late Oct I received some unexpected bad news about my baby daughter’s health. So in November we reined in the travelling for the next 3 months, enjoyed our family, continued to dial in the canning line and focused on getting the expansion complete before Christmas.
We somehow managed to complete the expansion in December.
The 6-7 month project saw us move from a bottling machine to canning line, take the unit next door, begin to build a lab, get more storage space, expand from a 400L brewery to 2400L brewery, add a tiny bit of capacity and now can brew a better volume of beer in a much healthier timeframe.
Work life balance is now threatening to reach sustainability for all of us here at Boundary. And we now have the space, brewing time, and finances to add further capacity as we like.
Not bad for 4 years work.
It feels like we are just beginning to threaten to hit our stride.
And we’re pretty excited.
Here’s to 2019.