The Walled City Brewery was established by James Huey in 2014 with a view to bring uniquely flavoured craft beers to the market. James has 12 years' experience in in the brewing industry as a technical manager (Masterbrewer) and production manager with experience in quality, compliance and innovation.
The company are opening iconic premises in Derry-Londonderry's exciting new cultural quarter, Ebrington Square, where they will house a craft brewery-taproom and restaurant. This is the only brewery-taproom in a 100 mile radius of Derry City. It will fill the market niche in the city and beyond for unique, flavourful beers and food. The beers will be crafted in an authentic fashion from local quality ingredients.
A key pillar of the Walled City Brewery craft beers will be innovation, involving innovative recipes, innovative ingredients and innovative brewing techniques. This has already progressed with the launch of a limited edition set of beers at the Culturetech Craft Beer Festival. These beers ingredients were completely new to Northern Ireland and included Sour Cherry, Vanilla & Oak, and Apricot Beers. The feedback on these beers was excellent especially with the female market, which the Walled City Brewery feel is an untapped consumer for Craft Beer in Ireland and beyond.
The Walled City Brewery required a range of support from the NWRC to help them to open and develop their business.
The company lacked the technical skills and knowledge of how to:
- Develop a food menu to complement their innovative craft beers;
- Specify the kitchen facilities required to deliver their new food offering;
- Develop procedures to deliver a high-quality food offering
The Walled City Brewery received support in development of Beer and Food Menu Development for their new Brewery that has recruited 12 staff and is now open in the high-profile Ebrington site in Derry~Londonderry. Through the DEL InnovateUs ESP support the Brewery can now offer a unique customer experience with strong focus on food and beer preparation, matched to their client’s palette. Brian McDermott assisted the company providing benchmarking and ideas generation to develop a food menu that would be suited to the Brewery’s needs. The client was up-skilled in menu development, food sourcing and recipe standardisation to allow the company to develop repeatable menus that their staff can produce. In addition to this support Brian also supported the client with kitchen planning, equipment specification and installation of a bespoke kitchen suited to their unique needs, linked to their menu. The NWRC supported the company with a hot-desk incubation facility in advance of their opening, supporting them at the College’s Strand Road Campus until the opening of their premises on the Ebrington site. Furthermore the company has taken on a student chef for a placement with the company.
Future Developments and Benefits
The Walled City Brewery are now engaging with the College with a view to undertaking training for their staff through the DEL funded Skills Focus programme.
Furthermore the NWRC are engaging with the Brewery on a 2nd FUSE in Creative and Digital Media and the NWRC are also working with the company on an Invest NI Innovation Voucher on the development of a new flavour of craft beer.
James Huey, owner of the Walled City Brewery said "Right from our first discussions, we have been mightily impressed with the professionalism on offer at North West Regional College. The expertise that is available from its Business Support Centre team has not only enabled us to prepare for launch, but to consider product development and investment potential which can help us grow into a successful business in the future. As part of the support, we availed of work placement students who proved to be highly skilled and motivated additions to our team, and I think this is testament to the quality of learning that is delivered in the College."