This month we spoke to Damian O’Shea, owner/operator of Heaton Hops with his partner Charlotte. Heaton Hops won Pub of the Year 2015 in CityLife Awards and Craft Ale Bar of the year 2016 Manchester Food & Drink Awards. Damian has also been a publican and owner of boutique beer distributor the Ale Man so he knows his way around the industry.
As you like to regularly remind me, you’re a multi-award winning venue. A massive achievement in just 2 years since launching (you’ve also managed to squeeze in a baby daughter in that time too)! What’s your magic formula to getting to the top of the game so quickly?
No magic formula great staff, nice people & hard work. Always try deliver when you say you are and communication is key. Also helps when your business partner is your best friend.
You’re illustrious past includes a stint as a beer distributor. Has this experience from the other side of the fence given you nuggets of wisdom that help you today?
Being a former distributor helps me look at things from a more balanced point of view and we try to keep our beers affordable.
Reflecting back on 2016, which beer styles sold well in Heaton Hops?
Beer styles which sold well in 2016 were Sours , Sessionable Beers and the ever present ShinDigger West Coast pale - our customers favourite.
And now look into your crystal ball. What major trends are you expecting in 2017?
My crystal ball says more Sours and more murky hop bombs basically looking and tasting like orange juice.
What’s your favourite part about working in the industry?
Loads of favourite things tasting & trying new beers , trying to convert lager drinkers :) meeting new innovative people who are pushing the boundaries when brewing beer.
Finally, one of your staff has pulled a last minute sickie. You’ve got to rush down to open despite the fact you’re hanging from the night before. Nightmare! Whats your hangover cure?
My hangover cure would be a boost bar and a massive drink of Orange & Lemonade.