Hello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Regular G Spots! readers will know that my posts usually goes live on a Thursday-the day many of you lucky ones start winding down for the weekend. Well for once I’m actually winding down early and heading to the launch of Shiro and the Down Royal summer festival of racing-so being in the party spirit means I’m definitely in the mood for this week’s featured business.
Prohibition Ltd is a quirky title for a business, and in my book the company owner is as impressive as the name. Felicia Matheson has a MSc Forensic Archaeology & Crime Scene Investigation, has been to all seven Continents, runs an multi-award winning community cinema (Newcastle Community Cinema (NCC)-and in between all that she still had time to set up a business!
Prohibition Ltd was launched on 5th December 2013, marking the 80th anniversary to the day since prohibition started-the time in history when alcohol was banned. It is a speciality craft beer, cider and spirits distribution company based in Dundrum-that focuses on Irish craft drinks and more exclusive brews from further afield.
Felicia is a woman after my own heart as she is passionate about trying something different and this led her to set up her business when she returned from travelling. She has a successful career working in the drinks industry, well when I say career-she is only in her early 30s, but her enthusiasm and knowledge for the business would rival someone twice her age. Her ethos is to make craft beers, wines and spirits more accessible to consumers living in the north of Ireland-as she found that we lagged behind Dublin or London. She went on the hunt for cool new craft labels to stock, from there she started discovering lots of breweries throughout Ireland that were producing awesome products, but in really small quantities.
To start with she focused on the Independent Off Sales & Bars who were keen to try new things and were willing to get staff on board to teach about craft beer etc. She also thought they would be a good fit for restaurants who like to source locally. Some of her customers include – Anchor Bar and Brunel’s Restaurant Newcastle, The Lighthouse Whiteabbey, The Salty Dog Bangor, The Baytree Holywood, Kiwis Brew Bar in Portrush -and she’s always on the hunt for new stockists.
Like many sole traders, she couldn’t have done it without the help of her family and boyfriend, who have acted as delivery drivers/book keepers/ warehouse keepers etc-so hopefully she’s paying them in beer!
She admits she can’t compete with the big distributors due to size, so her USP (unique selling point) is that she can source craft products that they can’t and don’t. Most of these smaller producers do not have the capacity to mass produce their product, also they do not want to sell to just anybody, rather they want to put it in the places that count and help raise awareness of their products.
Some of her most popular products are Pokertree Beers from Tyrone, Shortcross Gin from Crossgar and The Kernel Beers & Beavertown brews from London, which she finds hard to get her hands on and they literally sell out before she can get them delivered.
If this is given you food for thought or maybe it should be drink for thought… Felicia has started a mail order ‘Craft Brew Crew’ from The Crushed Grape (Off Sales)-this is a craft beer delivery direct to your door. She can deliver a mixed case of 12 beers once a month, with tasting notes and brewery info included or if you need some Father’s Day inspiration she can deliver a one off case.
Those who read my previous post on Farmegeddon know I wouldn’t be a big beer drinker, but I would definitely try cider or spirits, especially in the summer. Now I know there someone out there spotting the unique ones for us, she’s top of my guest list for summer soirées and in fact for the rest of the year too!