Craft Distiller Profile: Hughes Craft Distillery

Craft Distiller Profile: Hughes Craft Distillery

I’ve known of Hughes Craft Distillery for a few years now, there’s is a slow and steady growth – a growth borne naturally and through constant hard graft. In no way denigrating the NI Craft Beer scene, but there is a certain amount of “scene” about the industry – that is to say that merely by launching a Craft Beer brewery, you are bound to get a reasonable amount of attention and success, such is the en vogue nature of the sector. The Hughes’ have been labouring away at their liqueur business since mid 2010, practically historic in the local alcohol producing industry. I’ve tried their products, the whole range in fact – and they’re delicious (Okay, full disclosure – the Chili Liqueur blew the mouth off me, but I’m a coward when it comes to spice). Quite why they weren’t stocked EVERYWHERE in Northern Ireland has always eluded me. When local food brands are lauded and named on menus across the province, Ruby Blue was still in the process of “making it“. Over time though, Stuart and Barbara Hughes have kept at it and got their company in a position of real strength, as well as their range of real fruit, small batch spirits, they have added Ireland’s first Potato distilled Vodka – which surprised me, because as an Island, we love our spuds and we love our vodka, go figure. The gap was there though and the Hughes’ jumped through it. Now being widely stocked across the province, more and more people are understanding why Barbara and Stuart have continued making what they make, not just because...
A Message from Aaron Sorkin for Anti-SSM Campaigners

A Message from Aaron Sorkin for Anti-SSM Campaigners

Many of you will have seen this before, it’s been around for nearly 15 years – the points made are as true now as they were then. There are many arguments to use against those who campaign against Same Sex Marriage – that those who oppose marriage equality are hypocrites entrenched in an arbitrary view from a book written over hundreds of years; hundreds and thousands of years after the events they claim to be recounting. Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing said it better than many ever could, this argument stands the test of time, and I have no doubt that over the years, this has persuaded more than a small number of anti-SSM supporters. Hopefully, it will here too....
Behind The Bar Tales: The Ninth: Bomb Scare Special

Behind The Bar Tales: The Ninth: Bomb Scare Special

The date was December 20th 2013. I had been managing Whites Tavern for nearly 7 years at this point, recently though I had also taken up managing The Point Bar & Grill in Ballyhackamore. The last Friday before Christmas, in the bar/restaurant trade, is almost as mad as it gets. Most people have finished work that evening for the winter break and to celebrate, they hit the bars like a tonne of bricks. We were fully booked in both bars, I had only been managing The Point for 3 months and had a team in Whites who had survived many christmas seasons, so I decided to spend the working evening in Ballyhackamore. What could go wrong…? I saw on twitter that there was a bomb alert in Belfast City Centre. Just around the corner from Whites. So I did exactly what every non-sane person would do, I got in my car and drove towards it. I’m sure this is common practice for emergency services, journalists and the like, but it definitely doesn’t fall into the “job responsibilities” of bar management… at least not the advertised ones anyway. Here is a crappily drawn map – The red circle is Whites Tavern. The Black Square is the suspect device, the blue crosses are police barriers and the green arrow is the only open route to get to Whites. I had spoken with staff who said the police had advised them that they were safe and that we didn’t have to evacuate as it was far enough away from the premises, so the staff were valiantly battling on. I arrived and the...