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Green light for real ale
A FAMILY-OWNED Paphos-based micro brewery which has been fighting red tape and bureaucracy in Cyprus for almost three years has finally been granted permission to brew by the government.
The decision came in the nick of time as the Ginn family was on the verge of relocating their business to Malta, after facing delay after delay in Cyprus.
Although Cyprus had always been the first choice of the family, it looked like they were not going to be able to fulfill their dream and they had visited Malta several times in recent months.
“We are all over the moon and would like to thank the government for finally granting us our permit,” Bill Ginn said this week.
In spite of long delays and complacency which the family says was expressed by pernickety officials, they stress that “all of that is in the past” and they are now looking forward to a bright future in Cyprus.
“We really had reached a point where we were physically and emotional drained. We were progressing and could have been in Malta in the next week or so,” said Bill.
According to Bill, the family had managed to accomplish in three months in Malta what had taken them almost three years in Cyprus.
Aphrodite’s Rock Brewing Company, is Cypriot registered, and will operate out of the premises the family had built in Tsada in Paphos.
Ginn, his wife Jean, and their two daughters, Laura and Melanie, moved to Paphos almost three years ago. Originally from the UK, the family had been living in Abu Dhabi, and Ginn had been running a successful engineering consultancy in Asia and the Middle East for the best part of 20 years. The family is all involved with the brewery.
“The process in Cyprus seemed to go on and on and we were constantly being asked for more things by various departments. We have a lot of friends here and supporters here; it’s the ideal environment for us. There are many expats and Cypriots wanting our beers and there is a lot of tourism and potential tourism that could come to the island.”
The brewery had been visited and approved by the department of public health, but bureaucracy continued to hold up the permit.
Driven by a determination to succeed and start up their family business on the island they all love, the Ginns had contacted the Cyprus Ombudsman and the British High Commission. They also highlighted their plight to two MEPs from the area where they previously lived - the constituency of Yorkshire and Humberside - in the UK.
“Edward McMillan Scott and Godfrey Bloom were fantastic and put pressure where it was needed.”
The family say they didn’t come to Cyprus naively and thoroughly researched the market before taking the plunge.
They have already invested around 750,000 euros in the new venture and the brewery has the backing of the usually powerful Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA).
“As entrepreneurs we came to Cyprus and invested time and money as well as creativity. CIPA have the best of intentions, but they don’t have the budget or the power to be able to do what Malta Enterprise (ME) do,” said Bill.
ME is the national economic development agency responsible for promoting and facilitating international investment in the Maltese Islands.
Bill explained that as a government department, ME provided subsidised rentals, assisted with loans and relocation grants, and assigned a team of people to help would-be entrepreneurs work their way through the process.
“Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Cyprus. But this is not a criticism of CIPA - they did the best they could,” Bill said.
According to the family, one of the MEPs recently received a letter in Greek which stated that it had been decided that the licence would be granted to Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery Company.
‘We were also notified by CIPA that this was the case. There are some small stipulations to be put in place such as a bond, but nothing like the major headaches which there were before. We are finalising them now.”
Aphrodite Brewery plans to have a selection of their first hand crafted beers available by Easter.
“It is so exciting to be able to bring our beers to Cyprus. We already have advanced orders and they haven’t even tasted the beers yet,” said Bill.
There are 7.8 million real ale drinkers in the UK alone, and Aphrodite’s Rock believes that they could attract some of these to Cyprus.