William Mayne, the founder of the successful Bullhouse Brew Company in the Boucher district of south Belfast, is creating the new Bullhouse East pub.
converted from a former men’s clothing outfitters into a modern pub in the east of the city, it will feature a sizeable patio overlooking the renowned CS Lewis Square and the popular walking and cycling network of the Connswater Greenway.
“It’s tremendously exciting for me to be investing in what I intend to be an important part of the Greenway community and the iconic Holywood Arches,” William explains.
“It’s also just across the road from the Comber Greenway, which is used daily and especially at weekends by walkers and cyclists.
“This means Bullhouse East is right at the heart of east Belfast and the Comber area.
“It’s an amenity this important part of the city has required for many years,” adds William.
The award-winning Connswater Community Greenway is a £40 million investment making east Belfast a better place to live by delivering a 9km linear park with 16km of interconnected pathways, a new focal point for the city in CS Lewis Square, and all part of an integrated flood allievation project.
The Belfast to Comber Greenway is based on the route of the former Belfast and County Down Railway, which was closed in the 1950s. The government held onto the land expecting to build the M7 motorway.
Informal walkways developed along the urban sections over the decades, and when a sewer upgrade was planned in the 2000s, a full conversion to a greenway was delivered – Ireland’s first “greenway” and still the benchmark by which other local schemes are measured.
The two greenways provide a great environment for walkers and cyclists in particular throughout east Belfast.
Bullhouse East craft pub will, in addition, offer a range of freshly cooked pizzas from wood-fired ovens installed in the vast patio area.
Cheese and charcuterie boards featuring local products will be available.
There will be around 20 beer taps, a selection of quality wines and an off-sales retail shop.
“Running my own pub specialising in craft beers is a dream come true,” William continues.
“I’ve always wanted to create an outlet for my own craft beers as well as others from brewers here, in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. I’ll be showcasing brews from other parts of the world too,” he adds.
He continues: “We have now a very vibrant craft brewing sector and a host of craft distilleries and award-winning cider producers which have won respect and business worldwide.
“It will be great to be able to highlight them in this dynamic part of the city and especially in such a developing community as the Greenway, Holywood and Comber areas.”
William’s imaginative expansion into retailing follows the opening of Bullhouse’s modern brewery on the Boucher Road last year and the opening of a regular taproom at the new brewery site in line with the new licences which enables breweries and distilleries to sell the products to visitors.
“The decision was sped up when we ordered another four brewing tanks from China which will allow us to treble our annual capacity to a max of 1,500 hectolitres or about 265,000 pints,” he explains.
He switched the brewery from its original site on a family farm near Newtownards when demand for his beers meant he needed greater space for growth.
“We had secured change of use to operate the pub from that unit, and we really wanted to be involved in the tremendous work Eastside Partnership is doing in the area,” he adds.
“Our plan is to become an integral part of the local community as much as possible.”
The brewery, founded by William in March 2016, has also installed a fully automated canning line and is aiming to set up a new craft beer outlet in east Belfast.
The brewery has a range of beer styles, including India Pale Ale and Sour Pale, and runs a successful taproom. All Bullhouse beers are vegan.
William, furthermore, is liaising with food entrepreneur Johnny McDowell of Indie Fude deli on beer and cheese evenings.
Indie Fude is part of a joint venture with Velocheese in the manufacture of Italian cheese for pizza producers.
William launched the business on a small scale and on a part-time basis, producing 400 litres of beer per batch, bottling and labelling each by hand and selling everything out of the back of his car.
Demand soon began to outpace supply and so he enlisted the help of a local distributor and hasn’t looked back since.
In September 2017 William decided to give up the day job and concentrate on the brewery full-time. To celebrate the occasion, he brewed a pale ale and called it P45!
A strong commitment to perfection in his beers is matched with his enthusiasm for experimentation and innovative products.
William’s most successful beer remains one of his original brews – the Small Axe 4.3 per cent session India Pale Ale.
“We take great pride in our environmentally friendly approach to brewing and packaging, and our involvement within the local community in both parts of Belfast,” he explains.
“Our company is focused in liberalising the beer landscape in Northern Ireland by providing original, no-frills venues for the local community to experience and enjoy our brews and those of other craft brewers,” he adds.
“Bullhouse East is a logical extension of this approach. We hope it will prove an important addition to existing and planned facilities in a busy part of the city.
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