UNLIKE many men whose ambition is to run their own pubs, Matt McGivern has an advantage in that he already owns his own brewery.
And though the business is still new, Matt, from Wrexham, has already chalked up his first success by winning a gold medal at the Tamworth Beer Festival.
Later this month, visitors to the 11th Llangollen Food and Drink Festival will be able to sample some of his unique, award-winning brews.
The festival, to be held at the Royal International Pavilion on October 18 and 19, has become bigger and better every year but this is the first time for drinks to be featured.
Brewer Shane Parr, who runs the Stonehouse Brewery in Weston, near Oswestry, is organising the festival.
He says about 50 different beers produced by brewers across North Wales and Shropshire will be available.
The youngest exhibitor in brewing terms is undoubtedly Matt McGivern, 28, who started producing only in March this year.
Under the name McGivern Ales, he produces about 10-20 gallons a day from a converted outhouse at his parents’ home in Salisbury Road, Wrexham.
He said: “I became seriously interested when I was about 21 and I worked for some time for Penny Coles who runs the Jolly Brewer brewery in Wrexham. That persuaded me to have a go on my own.”
His early success has confirmed his view that a micro-brewery can be commercially viable.
He added: “I already supply about 10-12 pubs in the Mold and Wrexham area but my parents and I are hoping to find our own pub one day.”
If they were to achieve that aim, it would be a major change of career for his parents as his father Peter is a retired teacher and mother Gill a radiographer.
His success at the Tamworth Festival with his Cascade pale ale was a confidence-booster for Matt as he was up against more than 100 brewers.
Among other breweries whose ales will be featured at Llangollen are the local Plassey Brewery and the Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog, recent winners of the gold award for the Society of Independent Brewers’ western region.
“We’ll have 50 different beers from 18-20 breweries, all of which are relatively local, and so there’ll be plenty to last the weekend,” said Shane, an Australian who came to the UK in 2000 and married a Welsh lady, Alison.
At Llangollen he will have one of his rich, malty brews, Off The Rails.
In August, Shane had his own first success when another of his ales, Kingston Flyer KPA, took bronze at the Hereford festival.
The Llangollen Food and Drink Festival is organised this year by David Green who runs Xuberance Events and he is confident the real ale with be a perfect complement to the gourmet food.
He said: “It’s one of the most popular events in the town’s calendar. It’s great for attracting visitors and for promoting local producers.
“It’s a real shop window for them and producers based in North Wales and the borders will remain a priority for me.”
The festival will be officially opened on Saturday, October 18 by cake maker Mich Turner who lists Simon Cowell, Madonna and Victoria Beckham among her clients.
For further details, visit www.llangollenfoodfestival.co.uk.