NI town gets first brewery since last one burnt down in 1837

A significant investment has been made by a consortium who want to rekindle Lurgan’s long history with brewing and distilling.

The team behind the new brewery and planned distillery in Lurgan (left to right): Martin Dummigan, Vernon Fox, Patrick McAliskey, and Shauna Travers. They are at the new Spadetown brewery site which will officially open in October.

Spadetown Brewery, based at Silverwood Business Park, is set to open in October and there are also plans by the group to create a distillery based in Lurgan – the first in the town since 1837.

It will go under the name Lough Neagh Distillers when it opens in 2022.

The initial investment of over £2 million is expected to create around 55 jobs by 2023.

The venture is spearheaded by Lurgan man Vernon Fox, who has been involved in the drinks industry for almost 30 years, with backing from local business people including Patrick McAliskey who founded and built Novosco, one of NI’s major business success stories.

The Spadetown Brewery and Lough Neagh Distillers brands have been in existence since 2018 but the new investment has led to a relaunch of the companies and new plans to invest in the dedicated facilities.

Vernon said: “I have long wanted to open a brewery and distillery in Lurgan, drawing on centuries of tradition, given that Lurgan was home to one of the island’s largest distilleries – Greer’s Distillery – until it burnt down in 1837, and that the wider area was previously a hub for micro brewing.

“My idea to do so was put on hold due to the pandemic but that has become a positive as it led to new conversations with other local people who are passionate about the area’s brewing and distilling heritage, and to new investment and even bigger plans as a result.

“We want to rekindle Lurgan’s deep history with distilling and the history of brewing on the southern shores of Lough Neagh. We want to build brands and products that will connect with customers locally and around the world, leading to job creation, further investment in Lurgan, and more visitors to the local area.”

The new brewery is based in a 5,000 square foot unit and currently houses six 2,700 litre Brewiks fermenters, giving capacity for over 500,000 litres of beer per annum. The company plans to brew a range of beers including lagers, IPAs and special edition beers.

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