One of Belfast’s longest standing public houses has taken the bold move of removing the majority of its international beer brands in favour of showcasing products from local breweries. The Sunflower bar re-opened under new management in 2012 but there has been a bar on this spot for over 100 years. The bar has earned a reputation for its diverse entertainment line-up, featuring everything from poetry readings to live music. A well-known face within the industry, Pedro Donald, owner of Sunflower, has worked in the hospitality sector for over 30 years. His decision to overhaul the bar’s range of draught beers, is a definite departure from the norm. “The licensed trade in Northern Ireland has always been restricted by the tied house phenomenon that excludes competition and only promotes the big multinational’s brands, which in turn has meant that the trade’s offering to the public has been somewhat generic,” says Pedro. “I firmly believe that consumers are completely fed up with the same standard offerings and now they want something different. I also believe that we now have some amazing local craft breweries here in Ireland that deserve to have their brands showcased.” Northern Ireland has 27 local craft breweries. The Hercules Brewing Company is one of the breweries chosen by Pedro to adorn the bar counter in Sunflower, with their Yardsman Original Double Stout now pouring as the venue’s only stout of choice. “The Yardsman Original Double Stout is a fabulous beer and it is brewed here in Belfast, and is made using all natural, local ingredients with traditional brewing methods,” says Pedro. “We are in Belfast so why not offer a Belfast stout rather than a Dublin one?” Sunflower’s tap range, which is now almost exclusively local, will carry craft beers from across Ireland, including ranges from Hilden, Ireland’s oldest independent brewery, Farmageddon, Northbound, Clearsky and Kinnegar, as well as a locally produced cider, McIvor’s, from Armagh.