Craft beer business ‘mushrooms’ for local farming brothers

Michael and Shaun O'Connor with Ciara McGreavy of Mourne Mountain Brewery (SeanCampbell2014)
Michael and Shaun O'Connor with Ciara McGreavy of Mourne Mountain Brewery (SeanCampbell2014)

Local brewer Michael O’Connor hasn’t looked back since switching from growing mushrooms to crafting Brassy Blonde beer at his family home in County Derry.

Michael and younger brother Shaun operate on a site between Greysteel and Ballykelly, and their O’Connor Craft Beer is among a number of local breweries showcasing their wares at the ‘Big Cheese & Beer Expo’ organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council this weekend in Guildhall Square.

The three-day event will celebrate some of the finest craft beers and cheeses being produced locally.

The brothers just started selling their ‘Brassy Blonde’ beer in February of last year.

Michael said: “We used to grow mushrooms for our sins. I stopped in 2012 and we really started to attempt to brew in 2013.”

O’Connor Craft Beer embarked on its first public outing at the ‘Sippy of Culture’ event last November. Michael said: “All the products which we use in production are local. The beer labels are made in Derry, the bottles are made in Fermanagh – over 90 per cent are from Ireland.”

Around 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival this weekend. To find out more about the event go to www.derrystrabane.com/food.