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Craft brewer Boundary Brewing offering beer drinkers their own taste of the action

Belfast man Matthew Dick has put a PhD on hold and left his old brewing job behind to open the city's first co-operative craft brewery - owned and run by its members.

The 30-year-old head brewer and co-founder put his university studies on hold, before moving from home brewer to professional with Northern Ireland technology firm Brewbot.

Now he's offering a stake in his new firm - Boundary Brewing - for as little as £100.

Soon to be based in the Holywood Arches area of east Belfast, Mr Dick is trying to raise £70,000 through community shares - with the offer open to the public from today.

"We are a brewery that is run and owned by its members," he said.

"The co-operative is a democratic way to do business.

"Once the brewery becomes profitable, members can expect to receive a paid dividend plus their say in how the business is run."

Mr Dick's interest in beer and brewing came about after trips to Belgium and a five-year stint living in the US.

He now plans to embrace modern brewing styles and techniques - producing beers such as fresh and hoppy India Pale Ales, and deep, warming, full-bodied stouts.

"There's a craft beer revolution going on at the moment, and we are only on the crest of a wave," he said.

"It's getting much bigger in England and Scotland, with breweries such as Kernel and Brewdog among those showing just how popular good beer is becoming.

"I want to have a good group of people around me, who are interested in Boundary Brewing."

It's already taken off in a big way in the US, with over 2,000 independent breweries now spread across the country.

There are now 15 microbreweries in Northern Ireland - a three-fold increase on a decade ago - with a number of others vying for a chance to enter the market.

"It's all about local support - we can't do it without the public's help," Mr Dick said.

"We are offering the beer drinking public something new and different - from the bottles, to the labels, design and the beer itself.

"It will be something Northern Ireland hasn't seen before."

The ambitious entrepreneur also has plans to do brewing collaborations with celebrity names and other well-established breweries.

Beer drinkers throughout Northern Ireland and beyond will have the chance to invest in Belfast's second craft brewery - with plans to get under way early next year.

"We are planning to revolutionise the brewing scene in Northern Ireland," Mr Dick said.

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