A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life… Niall McMullan, managing director, Hercules Brewing Company

Niall McMullan

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Managing director of Hercules Brewing Company.
It involves everything from brewing to accounts, export, health and safety risk assessments, and of course selling. You name it and I probably do it.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I’ve worked in the hospitality sector since my late teens, primarily working behind a bar before moving into restaurants and hotels. My primary degree is in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Magee College and my Master’s Degree is in Marketing from Jordanstown, so I’m a proud University of Ulster graduate.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
The best part of my job is creating something like Yardsman Original Double Stout, walking into a bar and seeing other people asking for a pint of Yardsman and then sitting down to enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll even listen to them talk lovingly about their pint and their choice of pint… I love that, you can’t beat that feeling. Worst part is the 2.30am starts; I’m pleased to say that we have now actually managed to push the mashing in time to 5.30am, but it’s still tough.

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
I love the hospitality and tourism sector, it has a vibrancy and creativity here now that knows no bounds. But what’s most challenging and stifling for the sector and craft beer scene is the dominance and exclusive nature of the two big corporate beer giants who control 80% of all draught beer here in Northern Ireland between them. People want choice and I genuinely believe that consumers will make the discerning choice for quality and ‘real’ local beers if they are given the chance. The craft beer revolution is happening and will happen.

OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
To be honest, there really isn’t one. I could be selling one day, kegging the next, talking to customers or presenting to prospective distributors, so I don’t have typical days. Every day is another adventure.

PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
Seeing my beers being poured, consumed and enjoyed in any bar or restaurant makes me proud. Don’t get me wrong, awards and accolades are great, but nothing beats someone you don’t know asking for your beer or telling their friend, or a tourist, ‘Do you know that’s made here in Belfast, it’s a great beer’.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
The people first and foremost. We have some of the best people in the industry in Northern Ireland. The creativity of our restaurateurs and chefs, the quality of the local produce, the quality and hospitality of our pubs, not to mention the hotel sector. I’m really proud to be associated with some of these great people and I love working with them.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
I love listening to music, and when possible going to the odd concert or gig.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
I’m dyslexic, so if you get an email or text from me and its incomprehensible, it’s not predictive text kicking in… it’s me!

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