A fine craft
The number of pubs specialising in craft beers that have exploded onto the Irish scene over the past few years, shows craft beers are truly representing the current zeitgeist. This is perhaps not surprising given the number of key consumer trends they fulfil; not only are they helping support Irish and local jobs, but they taste superb. Gillian Hamill reports on the breweries shaking up Ireland's beer scene
16 April 2014
AT A GLANCE: CRAFT BEERS
- Following the successful launch of Smithwick’s Pale Ale in 2011, it is now the leading pale ale in the off-trade*
According to Stephanie Moe, Small Business Team, Bord Bia:
- "Craft brewing has been slower to emerge in Ireland than some other traditional brewing countries"
- "An initial emergence of craft brewers was evident in the 1980s and 1990s but many didn’t survive. The Franciscan Well, Carlow Brewing Co. and the Porterhouse have all survived from this time and have been joined in recent years by a growing number of new brewers"
In a recently published IGD Retail Analysis on Beers, Wines & Spirits – 10 Top Trends, the number two trend to drive sales, was as follows:
- "Showcasing specialism in beer and wine: Provence, brewing and distillation methods, especially from craft brewers are bringing consumers closer to craft and artisan producers"
*(Source: Nielsen data to end Nov 2013. Volume and value on MAT)
Ireland’s craft beer market has experienced dynamic growth as consumers become accustomed to quality craft offerings and demand greater choice. According to Bord Bia reports, craft beer volumes for 2012 were estimated to have grown by 44%. Events such as the Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair, a three-day festival held in February at Dublin’s Convention Centre, show the buzz that is currently surrounding the category, by attracting a record number of visitors of more than 6,000 craft beer fans.
A Long Summer at Smithwick’s
After 300 years you learn a thing or two about brewing. Following the successful launch of Smithwick’s Pale Ale in 2011, now the leading pale ale in the off-trade* and the successful launch of a seasonal collection with Winter Spirit in 2013, Smithwick’s is putting that experience to the test again with its newest seasonal brew, Smithwick’s Long Summer.
A new seasonal, limited edition ale from award winning master brewers, Smithwick’s Long Summer offers variety for beer lovers, particularly regular lager and cider drinkers who are looking to try something new and different in the warm summer months.
In keeping with its seasonal roots, the latest Smithwick’s addition captures citrus aromas with subtle hints of caramel, green tea and tropical fruits in a refreshingly tasty golden liquid – perfect for warmer months and longer days. Fermented using the prized Smithwick’s yeast, this is a beer steeped in heritage.
Supporting the launch of Long Summer is TV and out-of-home advertising, featuring the Smithwick’s distinctive ruby-red squirrel, a PR campaign and strong visibility in-store.
2014 will also see the opening of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, a EUR*3 million investment project for Kilkenny that will transform the existing Smithwick’s Visitor Centre into a state of the art visitor experience, ensuring over 300 years of a brewing legacy can be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.
Smithwick’s Long Summer will be available in 500ml bottles from April 2014.
*(Source: Nielsen data to end Nov 2013. Volume and value on MAT)
Classic Irish stout
The new Hilden Irish Stout is a classic Irish, dry and full bodied stout. It was launched in February 2014 and has been well received by the group’s customers across GB and Ireland. Also, the group has now secured listings in Dunnes Stores in the ROI (26 stores) and with the BWG Group (400 Spar convenience stores) as well as an additional 40 specialist off-licenses in the next six months in the Republic. Hilden states Tesco in the ROI has also approached it to help revamp its beer listings.
The award winning Hilden Brewery has also been revealed as the driving force behind a plan to establish a new organisation aimed at promoting Northern Ireland’s craft brewing industry – a Craft Beer Brewing Association.
The growth in demand for locally brewed beers and ciders has seen a dramatic increase in the number of manufacturing outlets across the province in recent years.
Now the industry believes that the time is right to actively use a unified promotional platform to get across the positive message surrounding the flavour and diversity of its products.
Seamus Scullion, the founder of Hilden Brewery, Ireland’s longest established independent brewer says the sector needs to have a collective voice in order to promote effectively in modern consumer market conditions.
"Interest in all things related to the craft beer and cider industry has never been stronger," says Scullion. "When we started up Hilden Brewery more than 30 years ago we were operating in a relatively limited market and customer base. The greater awareness however that now exists surrounding the craft beer and cider division of the drinks trade has opened up huge opportunities. As a craft industry we can best exploit those opportunities by speaking with a shared voice."
By developing a strategy to service and protect the expansion of the industry, and its customer base, the new body will have a vital role to play. One of the key elements of the new strategy to promote will be to tap into the tourism and wider economic potential of the industry.
"By working with the likes of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Food NI and Invest NI we believe the innovative culture of local craft brewing has the potential to be showcased on a worldwide platform," Scullion added.
Punchy, fruity pale ale with rye bite
Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale is all about the fresh flavour of American, Australian and English hops which are underscored by a nutty earthiness of rye malt.
March 2014 saw the second bottle release of the brand’s spring seasonal, Mahon Falls Rye Pale Ale – which was first served at festivals in 2012 to high acclaim – being pronounced ‘Beer of the Festival’ by the brewers at Brewer’s on the Bay in Galway. What’s more, at the Irish Craft Beer Festival in the RDS in Dublin the single cask brought was sold out within minutes of being tapped. For this year’s release the company is returning to the original recipe hop schedule which features Galaxy, Ella and Summit to give a punchy, fruity warmth which perfectly invokes the spirit of the season.
The pale ale has an alcohol content of 5.1% ABV and 42 International Bittering Units (IBUs).
The beer is named from the dramatic waterfall in the Comeragh Mountains where the river Mahon cascades from a mountain lake into the valley below.
For more information, contact the Dungarvan Brewing Company Ltd, by telephoning +353 58 24 000 or visiting www.dungarvanbrewingcompany.com.
Eight Degrees brewing – Naturally adventurous
Eight Degrees is one of the leading craft breweries in Ireland. Based at the foot of the Galtee Mountains, the group is blessed with crystal clear mountain river water to create its range of tasty ales and lagers. Owned by two antipodeans, Scott and Cam, lured to these fair shores by two Irish cailins, Eight Degrees Brewing is dedicated to providing the savvy Irish consumer with a variety of hand crafted, natural beers.
Why the name? Ireland is located at Eight degrees West longitude which, as it happens is also the perfect serving temperature for the group’s beers.
Eight Degrees’ portfolio of core beers includes the following:
Howling Gale – Irish pale ale ABV 5%
Like blitzing down the Ballyhouras on your bike with an icy wind in your face, this pale ale delivers a refreshing crisp smack around the gills. It makes sure that spicy or fried food never becomes palate-clogging and is particularly good with fish and chips or smoked salmon. With a similar flavour profile to NZ Sauvignon Blanc, it can be paired with many of the same foods: try with chicken, mussels or grilled fish.
Sunburnt – Irish red ale ABV 5%
Like an Irishman on holiday in the Canaries, this beer has a red glow but with a chilled out mellow feel. A traditional Irish style with a twist. It has subtle caramel notes balanced with a hoppy aroma and goes really well with roast pork, lamb burgers or a rich venison stew and don’t miss a chance to try it with a rich, buttery cheese. But beware: keep out of direct sunlight.
Knockmealdown – Porter ABV 5%
Like tackling the Knockmealdowns in a blizzard, this beer is not for wimps. Balancing dark malts with some old world bitter hops, this robust porter offers a rich chocolaty aroma with distinctive espresso flavours. Makes a traditional beef stew taste that bit beefier, contrasts beautifully with blue cheese or savour with chocolate cake. Perfect for a cooler evening; year round in Ireland.
Barefoot Bohemian – Pilsner lager ABV 4%
This is an unorthodox lager with complex biscuity malt, soft rounded bitterness and a twist of spice from the noble saaz and hallertau hops. Treat as an aperitif, amazing with pizza or drink with Thai or Vietnamese food. A crisp and adventurous drop, just perfect for a chilled out summer session. Bliss!
Putting Franciscan Well on tourism map
Franciscan Well is delighted to announce it will launch brewery tours and tastings. The new brewery tours and tastings aim to make Franciscan Well a top destination for beer aficionados and tourists alike, and put Franciscan Well squarely on the Cork tourism map.
Visitors will be brought through the rich history of the brewery, which is built on the site of a 13th century Franciscan well and monastery. They will see, touch and smell the ingredients that go into brewing Franciscan Well’s award-winning line-up of beers as they are taken through the brewing process. Finally, they will savour the taste of Franciscan Well’s signature beers, including Rebel Red, Friar Weisse, Blarney Blonde, Purgatory Pale Ale and Shandon Stout, as part of a tutored tasting session.
At the end of the tour, visitors can go and soak up the legendary atmosphere in the Franciscan Well Brew Pub, one of Cork’s best-loved pubs, which offers a full range of Franciscan Well beers as well as a diverse array of beers from Ireland and around the globe.
Built in 1219 on the present day North Mall, the 800 year old Franciscan Well site is at the very heart of Cork’s vibrant historic quarter, enduring suppression under Henry VIII and hosting King James II – who is said to have presided over a service at the Friary chapel.
The brewery tours and tastings will run from 3 March, Monday to Friday from 6:30pm, adding to the eclectic line-up of activities and events at the Brew Pub each evening. Admission is €10 per person. The Franciscan Well Brewery and Brew Pub is located on the North Mall, Cork City.
For bookings, contact Franciscan Well on 021 439 3434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.