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29th Sep 2014

JOE’s Start Up Diary, Week 9 – Michael Cowan of the Manor Brewing Company


Each week here on JOE we’ll be bringing you the personal thoughts and tips from Irish entrepreneur Michael Cowan, founder & CEO of the Manor Brewing Company.

“The divil in all of us…”

I feel like starting this ninth edition of my start up diary with a ‘what I did over the summer ‘ piece, as it’s been quite a while since my last JOE journal; six action-packed filled weeks, in fact. However, I promised on Twitter that this diary #9 would be about explaining the story of Mont.

So I can sum up our last six-weeks (and the best Indian summer on record!) as ‘extremely hectic’. From participating in the world’s smallest craft beer festival – @PopUpBeerFest – around Dublin, attending the Irish Craft Beer Festival, managing to work out why our last batch of our Pils-style lager came out as a ‘bitter Blonde’, to setting our launch strategy and roll out dates, we’ve made significant progress.

Oh, and we’ve finally signed off on our Mont™ branding too!


Mont is inspired by both our brewery’s beautiful natural surroundings in the Wicklow Mountains, and the character that started it all for me: the eponymous Errol Mont.

When I was at university my mates and I used to get together after rugby practice, or for a Friday night session, or even a weekend away ‘on tour’, and always make our reservations under the name ‘Errol Mont’. That way, if there was any devilment or repercussions the proprietor of the restaurant, bar, or hotel would be looking for Errol Mont, not us!

On one occasion, a 5 cent coin was left in a restaurant toilet light socket, causing the premises to ‘blackout’, and Mont’s mates left in the ensuing chaos – without paying the bill. However, in true Mont style, a cheque was later anonymous posted to the restaurant for the full amount. Just as well, as nowadays some of Errol’s accomplices are now some of society’s leaders, barristers & solicitors, and heads of financial institutions!


Enjoying a Mont outside the Belltower

You see, the story of Mont is about living life on the edge, but never crossing the line. It’s about our joie de vivre. It’s what inspires us, and draws others in. In Ireland I recognise a country of 4 million ‘Errol Monts’; each with a twinkle in their eyes. An irrepressible collective spirit. As we get our mojo back after years of being brow-beaten by the effects of economic recession, we think it’s time to have a beer that reflects our true national spirit. Mont represents the ‘divil’ in all of us. Irrepressible, yet still pure.

The fact that we founded the Manor Brewing Company nestled in the shadows of four local mountains, Mt Seefin, Butter Mountain, Sorrel, and Kippure, gives a certain serendipity to the story of Errol Mont. Added to the fact that our Bell Tower brewhouse is only a few metres away from the Brittas River running through the grounds; joining the Liffey River just a few miles from its source, sharing it with the resident wildlife (trout, herons, otters, badgers, foxes, deer, and of course our own ‘Mont’, a majestic six-pointer stag). We are simply as close to nature, and an Irish mountain, as you can possibly get.

That’s why Mont™ will be known as Irish Mountain Beer. Purely Irrepressible…

Follow our progress back here next week, as our journey to bring Mont™ beer successfully to market, continues. Whilst we build our brand new website (, please continue to follow us on Twitter @ManorBrewingCo and keep an eye out for #whoisErrolMont to see further behind-the-scenes updates.

Yours in craft,