By Bejay Browne
A family-owned, Paphos-based micro brewery which fought red tape and bureaucracy in Cyprus for almost three years is still facing a number of obstacles – months after being granted their licence to operate.
Aphrodite’s Rock Brewing Company is owned and run by the Ginn family and operates out of an old stone building in Tsada in Paphos. The beers are brewed using state-of-the art brewing technology.
“Local customs and exercise officials in Paphos have been very helpful and we’ve had a lot of support from them. But we do have one or two problems we’re still addressing with officials in Nicosia,” Bill Ginn told the Sunday Mail:
“We are trying to sort out where we’re allowed to distribute the beer and at what outlets. We’re taking legal advice over this, so I don’t want to say any more.”
Ginn said that, especially in the current poor economic climate, it’s difficult enough for new ventures to start without having to face bureaucratic problems as well.
The long-delayed decision to grant the business a licence came just in time, as the family had been on the verge of relocating their business to Malta. But while the licence meant Aphrodite’s Rock could finally start brewing, a double whammy of recession and further red tape has hampered business.
“We are a small family business, and the economic and banking crisis has been a further blow for us as everyone is now watching how many euros they have in their pockets.”
The company is a small-batch craft brewery and Ginn says that the family is disappointed that officials are not actively backing the venture.
“They publicly complain about Cyprus tourism – which we are trying to help influence in a positive way in Paphos and yet all they do is pay lip service.
We are contributing to the Cyprus coffers in so many ways,” Ginn said. “We have already been in five different CAMRA [Campaign for Real Ale] publications in the UK, regarding real ale in Cyprus.”
But the family looks set to be able to voice its concerns personally and at the highest level. Ginn has been invited to a meeting with commerce minister, Giorgos Lakkotrypis, in mid December.
The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency – set up to promote foreign investment – has invited the brewery and other foreign direct investment enterprises to give an honest account any difficulties they have faced.
“I will be brutally honest and won’t sugar coat our experience at all,” said Ginn.
The family has already invested close to one million euros in the new venture and has been reinvesting for the last three months or so. Ginn, his wife Jean, and their two daughters, Laura and Melanie, moved to Paphos almost three years ago. Originally from the UK, the family is all involved with the brewery.
“Amongst other things, we have purchased new bottling equipment. Our processes are now more streamlined and we are more efficient. We are not carrying huge overheads and we have tailored our prices to enable us to attract a decent-sized market,” he said.
Although all the raw materials used to make the beers, such as hops and malt, are shipped in from the UK, the United States and other European countries, the product remains competitively priced.
“Our intention is to offer variety, flavour, quality and value for money,” Gin said.
The beers are available at more than 70 outlets including, restaurants, tavernas and bars, and Aphrodite Rock brewery also provides a home delivery service. A beer festival in October was well attended.
“Some of our larger draught outlets have our full hand-pulled system and are using multiple casks a week, whereas some of the smaller tavernas will take just one crate from us every week or so.”
The brewery concentrates on producing around six core beers but others will be hand crafted as occasional seasonal beers to add variety.
The main beers range from ‘Lian Shee’ – an Irish red ale – to the West Coast IPA – an American style 6 per cent India Pale Ale.
The brewery owner says that after taking into consideration feedback from customers, Aphrodite Rock will launch a new beer, ‘Rock Lite Cyprus honey’, in the New Year. It will be a light Pilsner style beer using local Paphos wildflower and thyme blossom honey.
“We ferment out all of the sugar so it’s not sweet, and there will be an underlying richness coming out from the honey,” said Ginn. “This is literally a real taste of Cyprus, and the honey will give a unique taste to the beer.”
With Christmas looming on the horizon, Ginn said that the hand crafted beers also make excellent presents.
“People can come here and buy crates of beer of either one type or mixed. We also have a six pack gift carrier to give a general taste of what we do.”
To take advantage of the brewery tours, home deliveries, or for further information, call 26101446 or visit www.aphroditesrock.com.cy or their Facebook page