Early this week, Hospitality Ulster, the Northern Ireland organisation responsible for promoting our hospitality sector, tweeted about #BeerDayNI – something I’d either not heard about before or had heard of in previous years but had forgotten.
So what is it?
From what I can gather, it’s a hashtag running alongside the very popular social media hashtag #BeerDayBritain, happening on Friday 15th June and running all weekend. Apart from that, what is it?
The first time I came across it was when it appeared on Hospitality Ulster’s twitter feed.
Curious to find out what was happening, I asked the organisation a genuine question.
I waited … and waited.
I’m not a publican and I’m not a brewer. I’m not a local businessman. I’m nobody in the world of local hospitality. I get that, but as a consumer I just wanted engagement with the local body responsible for pubs and to know if they were aiding local breweries in any way.
I got no answer.
I contacted most of our brewers in Northern Ireland to gauge if they were aware of #BeerDayNI – they all helpfully came back to me within a couple of hours with the same negative response.
Hospitality Ulster’s twitter feed is understandably full of retweets promoting local pubs, restaurants and hotels with hashtags such as #supportlocal etc and if you visit the BeerDayBritain website, you’ll see one of the purposes of the site and the whole weekend is “To celebrate Britain’s amazing brewing scene…”
So I’ll ask the question again here since I didn’t get a response on my Twitter feed.
As Hospitality Ulster initially brought #BeerDayNI to everyone’s attention and I’m assuming it has the same ethos as #BeerDayBritain, is the organisation supporting local craft brewers and if so, how? Will H.U. be celebrating Northern Ireland’s amazing brewing scene, and if so, how?
It’s disappointing that H.U. is so immersed with giants Diageo/Guinness and C&C/Tennent’s. Massive companies that own so many bar taps across Northern Ireland – bars that won’t sell local draught beer as the financial incentives from the big boys are too lucrative to ignore.
We’re being asked to support local.
Local hotels and restaurants can serve you meat, fish and vegetables from all parts of Northern Ireland yet pubs here provide the same worldwide macro offerings everywhere with very, very little NI brewed beer anywhere. We may want to support local pubs but how can we support local breweries in these local pubs? (Regardless of what the marketing gurus at St James’ Gate in Dublin would have you believe, Harp lager is not an NI beer by the way.)
I get that H.U. (formerly known as Pubs of Ulster) is responsible for hospitality and public houses – not what each place sells. I know that. I just find it difficult to comprehend that more help isn’t being given to local breweries to sell some of their great beers on draught in local bars.
Anyway, this weekend, have a local beer from any one of the superb Northern Irish brewers dotted around the country (full list here), and stick it on your social media profile with the hashtags