The Battle of the Brews

By Clare E. Bonnyman

** This is a long-form journalism feature that I completed as a part of my multimedia collection produced for the Armagh Project 2014 and ieiMedia. I studied in Northern Ireland for a month and produced audio, visual and print work about the craft beer revolution and the rise of microbreweries.

LISBURN, Northern Ireland – It’s the most beautiful day Northern Ireland has seen in months, but Lisa Maltman has no time for that.

She is in charge of global sales and marketing for the Hilden Brewing Company, Ireland’s oldest independent brewery, established in 1981.

Being a small brewery in Northern Ireland is a struggle, with a large percentage of the market controlled by multi-national companies like Diageo and InBev – which run Guinness and Stella Artois, respectively.

Maltman’s office, much like the rest of Hilden Brewing, is a constant flurry of activity to keep the company’s product on the market and in the game. Her desk is covered in Post-it notes, graphs, business cards and bottles. In the midst of a craft-beer revolution in Northern Ireland, Hilden is using every opportunity to grow.Hilden Brewery, Lisburn

“We brew every day, and we are at peak capacity at the minute,” says Maltman.

“I’ve just remembered about seven different things I have to do,” she says, typing away furiously.


In recent years craft beer production and microbreweries have taken off internationally. Government-licensed alcohol vendors and bars across the world are serving more and more microbrews and craft beers, usually locally sourced.

In North America in particular, the craft beer market has boomed. In 2012 in Canada craft beer sales grew by over 30 percent, in contrast to relatively flat sales of wines and spirits.

This of course pales in comparison to the growth of microbreweries in England, where the microbrewery movement began in the 1970s. That was when a new generation of small, focused breweries started to produce cask-conditioned beer, also called “real ale.” From 2002 to 2012 the number of microbreweries in England doubled, making one brewery for every 50 pubs. There are well over 1,000 microbreweries in England today, and the number is growing by hundreds each year across the U.K. mainland.

But as of the summer of 2014, only 14 microbreweries are active in Northern Ireland. There are a number of reasons why.

Being in the U.K., it’s not hard for Northern Ireland to import a variety of microbrews to add some craft-style diversity. There are also very few bottling plants in Northern Ireland to service new microbreweries. This of course doesn’t even go into the politics that make it difficult to start a brewery in Northern Ireland.

The modern craft beer revolution has reached a crucial point for Northern Ireland, as more microbreweries pop up and fight to survive.

Continue reading “The Battle of the Brews”

Monica Lewinsky’d all over the news.

Here’s the problem with Monica Lewinsky.


 Yes, I’ve said it. I have no problem with her. Granted, I was not of a ‘mature’ age when the scandal in question occurred -being only 4 years old- nor was I particularly involved in feminism or women’s rights until I finally took a class in it in the second semester of my second year of university.

So I’m not an expert. Let’s just rip that label off right now.

I AM –on the other hand- a woman. A woman in the business workplace. Really I’m a young lady, but we’ll just call me a woman in this context. And as a modern woman, in a corporate workplace, I have one thing to say… 

It is not okay that Bill Clinton is left alone while Monica Lewinsky is the butt of all jokes, especially today.



The girl made a mistake. So did the President of the United States. And who do you think was more apt to making poor decisions, an intern or the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation?

Let’s put it this way, which one is more likely to be caught doing too many tequila shots in public, the 21 year-old intern or the 42nd president of the United States of America?

My votes on Monica (sorry girl).

Feminism has come a long way since 1998. This was, as aptly put by Emily Shire of The Daily Beast, “well over a decade before the first SlutWalks began”.

We are now against the act of ‘slut-shaming’, so much so that the term has become commonplace. Third-wave feminism has given women the right to empowerment, in physical, mental, spiritual, and –most significantly- sexual situations. Women have a right to express themselves in ways they so desire, and make choices based on their desires, dreams, wants and needs. Women now have earned the right to respect concerning their decisions, and this is great. It’s one more step towards substantive equality.

And yet in the case of Monica Lewinsky society and mass media still go to protect the man, leaving no room for the woman to defend her actions, even years later?

Shire points out, that of course, “the whole mess happened because Lewinsky dressed and flirted a certain way. The most powerful man in the free world, who was nearly three decades her senior, played no active role.”

I trust you catch the sarcasm.

In an article by Jezebel, entitled “Vanity Fair Gives Monica Lewinsky 15 More Minutes”, Kate Dries admonishes Lewinsky for trying to take back her narrative. Although Dries –despite Jezebel’s feminist position and reputation- even refused to acknowledge Bill Clinton’s rolw in a way. She writes, “Lewinsky is still sorry about having sexual relations with that man”.

Okay, so we can introduce Lewinsky right away, but the household name that has a 50/50 role in the story gets spared? Not exactly equality.

Yes, she goes on to mention Clinton’s actual name, but it’s the reference to him as ‘that man’ that strikes me as so regressive.

My position is simple; Lewinsky has a right to reclaim her name. Or at least try to. But denying a 40-year old woman the right to “stick [her] head above the parapet so that [she] can take back [her] narrative and give a purpose to [her] past,” as Lewinsky declares in her Vanity Fair essay, isn’t cool. Especially not when it’s based off of a mistake she made more than a decade ago. And it’s also not cool to ignore the man, her senior, who had his chance to reclaim his name even after impeachment.

Sure, it might be a ploy for money; but it HAS been 10 years of relative silence for Lewinsky. Maybe she just legitimately wants a second chance?

While we’re judging, I wore some pretty heinous outfits a decade ago, and had a bowl cut (before you think too much, I was 9).

Is it fair to say I still look like a boy? No. I’m very much a classic, feminine cis-sexual female now thank you very much.

And that’s the point, people change over the course of 10 years. In fact, they can change a lot. So before we go wagging our fingers, perhaps we should listen to what Lewinsky has to say. After all, doesn’t she deserve the chance to re-brand herself in the new millennia? A chance to re-introduce herself to the next generation?

 Retro fashions may be coming back, but as far as slut-shaming, I think that’s something we can leave in the past. New millennium, new Monica.

And I for one want to hear what she has to say.