Discover Craft Beer In Ireland
Spring/Summer 2015 Complimentary Copy
Learn about the lost breweries of Dublin
Discover how Beoir members brewed Their second collaboration beer
Brewer Interviews 5 American brewers talk about the Irish craft beer scene
CAMRA Update An update from the Northern Ireland CAMRA branch.
25 years of the EBCU
Learn how the European Beer Consumersâ€™ Union was formed.
Beoir is an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Irelandâ€™s native independent microbreweries.
The Head Chef Dave carving from a selection of freshly roasted meats at the Carvery
’Neill’s, conveniently set in the heart of the city, is one of Dublin’s most famous and historic pubs. Trade has ﬂourished here uninterrupted for over 300 years.
Our fully-refurbished Roof-Top Beer Garden & Smoking Area
But having a long history doesn’t mean we’re behind the times. Here at O’Neill’s we have fully embraced the Craft Beer revolution. We have one of the largest selection of local Irish Craft Beers on draught in Ireland and aim to try and represent as many of the local Craft Breweries as possible. The passion and enthusiasm shown by these small breweries is infectious and our customers can’t get enough of these unique beers. The range of tastes means there’s a beer for every palette. To make your visit as enjoyable as possible we also offer you ...
M.J. O’Neill Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 Tel. 01 679 3656 www.oneillsbar.com
Extensive Irish Food Menu and Famous Carvery serving only the ﬁnest Irish Meat, Fish and Vegetables. In fact, Lonely Planet rate us as one of the Top 5 Places to ﬁnd ´Real Irish food in Dublin´.
Irish Music and Dancing 7 nights-a-week
Roof-Top Beer Garden and Smoking Area
Pour Your Own Pint tables
Free Wi-Fi to all our Customers
HD and 3D Screens for the Sports Fan with major international league games.
Mon-Thurs: 8.00am-11.30pm Fri: 8.00am-12.30am Sat: 8.00am-12.30am Sun: 8.00am-11.00pm SatNav 53.343958, -6.260796
“Top 5 places to ﬁnd Real Irish Food in Dublin”
Music and Dancing 7 nights
2013 Les Routiers Pub of The Year
What’s inside. General Interest Beoir#2 Beoir’s second collaboration beer. Business Bringing beer to the world. A trio of entrepreneurs plan to export Irish beer around the world. History Porter Boulevard Learn about Dublin’s lost breweries and what happened to them.
Spotlight On Europe Birthday Celebrations The EBCU celebrates 25 years this year.
Brewer Interviews American Brewers. An interview with 5 American brewers in Ireland.
Pub Spotlight 57 The Headline. Does it have the best selection of Irish craft beer on tap in Ireland?
Brewery Update Is it sustainable? The continuing rise in Irish brewery numbers.
Brewery spotlight The Porterhouse A look at one of Ireland’s best known breweries.
Tax The hated Beer duty. A look at how duty works around Europe.
Northern Ireland CAMRA update An update on the Nothern Ireland beer scene by CAMRA.
Chairman’s Message: Welcome to the second issue of Beoir Magazine. It has been a long time coming. Putting a magazine together in a voluntary organisation is tough work and I hope you enjoy it. The magazine is aimed at tourists and the general public alike. Please enjoy and support Ireland’s many independent breweries. Reuben Gray - Chairman
18 Red Borders About Beoir
Launched on July 1st, 2010, Beoir is an independent group of consumers which seeks greater choice, quality and value-for-money for beer and cider drinkers on the island of Ireland. Our primary goal is to support and raise awareness of Ireland’s native independent microbreweries and craft cider-makers. Additionally, Beoir promotes and encourages amateur craft brewing, and the making of other fermented beverages. It seeks to assist amateur brewers in improving the quality of their end product through the sharing of information. The group is organised and administrated in an open and democratic manner by and for its subscribing members on a voluntary non-profit basis. Membership is open to all adults worldwide and costs €10 per annum. In November 2012, Beoir joined the European Beer consumers Union (EBCU) representing beer consumers in Ireland. We were the 13th member at the time. This gave us a voice in Europe and the backing of other European countries.
Welcome to Ireland With over 60 breweries and more set to open in the coming months, Ireland has something for everyone.
Continuing the trend... Our second collaboration brew: Beoir#2
By Reuben Gray Reuben Gray is currently serving as the Chairman of Beoir and magazine editor. Since 2008, he has been writing the successful beer blog The Tale Of The Ale. He also writes freelance for various publications such as FFT magazine and TheJournal.ie Last year, Beoir brewed a 9% DIPA at Blackâ€™s brewery in Kinsale. It was an enormous success for all involved. A number of other breweries wanted to get us down to brew a batch of beer with them. Trouble Brewing in Kildare were the first to ask so on January 10th we headed to the brewery which is located just outside Kill, county Kildare. We had about 20 brewers on the day.
As with Beoir#1, democracy decided what we were to brew. It was decided to do an Imperial Irish Red at 7.5% ABV. We then came up with some hops to use which were waimea and wakatu from New Zealand. I put together a recipe and brewed two versions. Both were failures for a number of technical reasons but they tasted great. I knew the recipe would be sound when brewed on the larger kit. Mark from Trouble and I went over the recipe, tweaked it for their own kit and we were ready to go come brewday.
The brewday itself went without any drama. We even got a higher than expected gravity. When Beoir#2 was finished, it was 7.8% ABV. It was released
@TaleOfAle www.taleofale.com Beoir#2 is a 7.8% ABV Imperial Irish Red. It uses waimea and wakatu hops in the boil and the same were used to dry hop along with some mosaic. So how did it taste? This is a beer that combines the big caramel body of an Irish red with the hop levels of an American IPA. You get an instant chewy caramel body and sweetness before being assaulted by hops. However, itâ€™s very balanced throughout with neither side winning the battle. It finishes rather dryer than one might expect and this helps it stay refreshing.
at the Winter Ales & Cask Festival in Cork the following month and went down an absolute storm both there and in subsequent beer festivals as well as bars around the country.
Spring - 2015
Bringing Irish Beer To The World One startup plans to make exporting easy Ireland Craft Beers Ltd plan to work with authentic Irish owned micro-breweries by helping them eliminate the stress and confusion involved in exporting their products to international markets. The result is that micro-breweries can continue concentrating doing what they do best, brewing great beer while increasing their reach outside of Ireland.
Ireland Craft Beers Ltd was founded towards the end of 2014 by three young beer enthusiasts Colin Brannigan, Liam Brogan and Shane McCarthy, who came together with the idea of putting Irish craft beers on the global map. Their fundamental mission is to help this booming industry serve not only the Irish expats outside the island of Ireland, but all craft beer enthusiasts across the globe. Around the world, there is a real desire for Irish products and beer is no exception.
After months of continuous market research, pitching and relationship building, Ireland Craft Beers Ltd have now launched their international business model with the vision of helping Irish craft breweries export their premium, artisan craft beers and ciders into the global markets. Each partner within Ireland Craft Beers brings a different story to the table, alongside an extensive tool box portfolio of experience. They have combined their expertise of sales, marketing, finance, global logistics & distribution to make a formidable team which will concentrate on getting Irish craft beer to the international market. Their concept is to provide a turnkey import/export brokerage service for international beer suppliers and Irish Craft Brewers, respectively. Industry research to date has confirmed that there is a tangible demand for the intended services that will be provided by Ireland Craft beers. Year one will concentrate on the UK and then the US toward the end of the year and into Year 2. By Year 3, they hope to be distributing worldwide.
Personally, I think this is a great development and I look forward to seeing how they get on. Currently, only a handful of breweries export and a service like this might help others take the plunge. www.irelandcraftbeers.com
For a beer distributor / tap installer service in Ireland, publicans should check out The Vanguard Beer Collective. As well as supplying a wide range of Irish Craft Beer, they also provide staff training and tasting sessions. www.vanguardbeer.ie
By Reuben Gray Reuben Gray is currently serving as the Chairman of Beoir and magazine editor. Since 2008, he has been writing the successful beer blog The Tale Of The Ale. He also writes freelance for various publications such as FFT magazine and TheJournal.ie @TaleOfAle www.taleofale.com
Spring - 2015
Porter Boulevard Dublin’s axis of lost breweries The long straight road which runs east from Kilmainham all the way to Dublin Castle has been a main route into Dublin since medieval times. From the late 1600s the city lost her walls and fortified gates, and the Liberties became part of Dublin proper. As the medieval St. James’s Gate, once the westernmost point of the city, was torn down, this quarter was redeveloped for industrial use. Ireland’s economy was booming in the 1700s and among the chief products of Dublin was beer: first ale and later porter. There have been dozens upon dozens of breweries in Dublin over the years, but the industry reached its zenith on this strip of land, either side of what’s now James’s Street and its continuation, Thomas Street. This article looks at some of the big names in Dublin brewing that once operated here. Manders & Powell St. James’s Church (soon to be Alltech’s Dublin distillery) sits on the north side of the street it gave its name to, just east of the Luas tracks. A little further east again are two grand archways leading into the north-western extension of the Guinness brewery. In Georgian times this was part of a much grander terrace which formed the front facade of the Manders Brewery. Manders was a large operation, covering six acres from the street down to the Liffey. It muscled its way to success in the early 19th century and by the 1830s was Dublin’s second-biggest brewer, making half as much as Guinness across the way. Later, the Dublin brewers began to club together and fix the price of porter in a cartel, something that would be completely illegal today. As the largest brewer, Guinness took the lead and everyone else was expected to follow. In 1868 Manders decided it had had enough of collegiality and left the cartel to run its business its own way, and in doing so marked the beginning of the end for the company. In 1883, Manders & Powell went out of business. Seven years later, the six acre site was purchased by a smaller, but more successful, neighbouring brewery: The Phoenix. Phoenix The front office building of the Phoenix Brewery still stands at 89 James’s Street, on the corner with Watling Street, just across from Guinness’s iconic main entrance. It was originally established in 1778 and rose to fame under the ownership of Daniel O’Connell Jr, son of the Liberator. Though porter was a stock-in-trade, and the brewery had the same vast wooden vats for maturing beer that all porter breweries of the era used, Phoenix cornered the market in ale and O’Connell’s Dublin Ale was
probably its best known brand, and certainly the by-word for ale in Dublin right up to the 1930s. In 1890 the brewery expanded westwards into the former Manders premises, claiming the title of Dublin’s second-largest brewery. When journalist Alfred Barnard visited that same year, he noted that the brewery was storing 100,000 barrels of malt on site, from maltings it owned all around Leinster. About half a million litres of beer was in the stores ready for sale. Phoenix’s decline began several years later, the management blaming the overall economy and dishonest Dublin publicans, among other factors. In 1905 the
By John Duffy John Duffy is currently serving as the Treasurer of Beoir and has been writing the successful beer blog: The Beer Nut since 2005. @TheBeerNut thebeernut.blogspot.ie
company was acquired by D’Arcy’s Anchor Brewery, initially with the intention of brewing in both locations, but in 1909 D’Arcy sold the Phoenix site and moved production of O’Connell’s Ale to his own brewery. Anchor The Anchor stood on the site of what’s now the Oliver Bond flats, on Bridgefoot Street, just down from St. Catherine’s Church. It was established in 1740 and ale was the main product before 1800, as in most Dublin breweries. 1798 was the year the brewery first advertised Kavanagh & Brett’s porter for sale. Kavanagh & Brett passed ownership to John D’Arcy in 1818 and the Anchor remained in the D’Arcy family until it finally closed in 1926. As a postscript, some drinkers may remember the D’Arcy’s Dublin Stout with an anchor on the label which was brewed by the Dublin Brewing Company in Smithfield between 1997 and 2004. This was named in homage to the former Anchor brewery. Shortly after the end of the Anchor Brewery, the site was sold to Dublin Corporation and razed to the ground to make way for the Oliver Bond complex. D’Arcy’s business, including O’Connell’s Ale, became the property of Watkins of Ardee Street, which continued brewing until 1939.
Spring - 2015
Porter Boulevard Continued... Sweetman Across Thomas Street and around the corner on Francis Street, the Iveagh Market building is currently being restored to its Victorian splendour. But before it became a market, this was a brewery. Patrick Sweetman had begun brewing on St Stephenâ€™s Green in 1740 as a tenant of the Leeson family. He moved operations to this more suitable location in the 1760s, and the Sweetmans brewed beer here until the 1890s when it became yet another victim of the consolidation of Dublin brewing.
The Guinness family acquired the site and used it to build the Iveagh Market to house traders displaced by another grand building scheme elsewhere in the Liberties. The Sweetman name has been revived in the JW Sweetman brewpub on Burgh Quay but thereâ€™s also talk that the redeveloped Iveagh Market could include a brewery as well. The 21st century may yet see beer production return to this part of Dublin 8 on a pre-industrial scale.
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Spring - 2015
Ireland’s Breweries The continuing rise of Irish breweries How many breweries are in Ireland? It depends on when you ask that question as the answer has changed significantly in my lifetime. Let’s go back a little before then though. Between 1829 and 1841 there were an estimated 171 breweries on the Island of Ireland. That number is significant because the population in 1841 was a little over 8 million people. Currently, the island has a population of 6.4 million and growing. Many Beoir members reckon that we can sustain about 150 breweries in Ireland. This might be helped due to the current ability to export, something that wasn’t as readily available at that time.
Old Irish Breweries
By the 1980s, that number stood at just 3 brewing companies making a handful of brands. It wasn’t until the mid to late 90s that we saw a resurgence of our lost brewing heritage. It was tough going in those early days. The new independent breweries had to compete with the big boys who had massive economies of scale and could produce beer at a fraction of the cost. The only way forward was to compete on quality. Breweries came and went in that time and only 5 survive today: Carlow Brewing, Porterhouse Brewing, Franciscan Well, Whitewater and Hilden. Of these, 4 are still independent while Franciscan Well is now owned by Molson Coors.
In 2005, after years of lobbying by struggling breweries led by The Porterhouse, the government decided to give micro breweries a fighting chance. They set down the definition of a micro brewery as an independently owned brewery that makes no more than 20,000HL of beer per year. Those meeting this definition would receive a 50% rebate on duty each quarter and was implemented in 2006. This allowed two things to happen. First, the existing micro breweries could expand production. Carlow and Porterhouse both moved to larger premises and increased exports. The other thing that happened was the beginning of the craft beer movement in Ireland. In 2006, the Hooker Brewery set up in Roscommon and launched their infamous Galway Hooker Irish pale ale. This was a beer inspired by Sierra Nevada pale ale but with an Irish twist. Ireland got its first introduction to hop forward pale ales and we were hooked if you’ll excuse the pun.
Roll on to 2015 and the numbers now speak for themselves. Breweries have continued to open in the last few years and we now have over 60 physical breweries on the island of Ireland with many more brewing under contract while they try and set up their own brewery.
The craft beer industry has received recognition as one of the few to thrive during the recession. The government has also increased the micro brewery ceiling from 20,000HL to 30,000HL per year. This was to encourage further growth in the industry, especially exports. It also has a mention in the Government action plan for jobs and not without merit. Carlow Brewing has recently announced a €1.5m investment and 12 new jobs. While that number might seem small at first glance, there’s a knock on effect as each new job in a brewery can lead to the creation of further jobs related to that industry. Some research puts it at 45 jobs for every 1, though I think that number is too high for a small country like Ireland. Either way,
By Reuben Gray Reuben Gray is currently serving as the Chairman of Beoir and magazine editor. Since 2008, he has been writing the successful beer blog The Tale Of The Ale. He also writes freelance for various publications such as FFT magazine and TheJournal.ie @TaleOfAle www.taleofale.com
it’s great news for Ireland and a validation that the government’s belief in the craft beer sector is not misplaced.
The number of new breweries will likely start to slow down over the rest of this year and into 2016. It is becoming hard to find tap space in large urban areas so breweries need to concentrate on the rural markets now and these are much tougher to break in to.
If you compare the map of the old breweries to the one on the Beoir website or BeoirFinder app, you will notice that it’s not too dissimilar. The main difference seems to be that there were a lot more breweries in the middle of Ireland than there are now. For instance, there are currently none in Westmeath at all. I would imagine we will start to see more rural breweries opening in the coming years as urban space becomes more expensive.
There are interesting times ahead and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.
Beoir Finder on Google Play & Apple AppStore Free App
Spring - 2015
Brewery Spotlight - Dublin The Porterhouse: Craft Brewing - giving it our heart and soul It’s 1981, two Irish lads living in North London, one at university, one on the buildings. They both have a love of beer. “Wow, with our Irish genetics we’d love to brew craft beer, especially after seeing all the great work done by the small English breweries”. So in 1983, Liam and Oliver set up Harty’s brewery in Blessington Co. Dublin brewing a malty, lightly hopped ale with fuggles and east Kent goldings. A craft ale, we had open fermentation tanks, direct fill into casks. First time a publican had seen a working hand pump in 30 years. Result? Bankruptcy and hard lessons learned. Brewing it turned out was somewhat the least of our problems. Oliver had been to university and now experienced the University of Life. Multi nationals bribed publicans not to take our beer, sabotaged our products. Lesson to themselves? Love beer, love brewing, don’t let the big boys get ya! Harty’s Ale was in approximately 50 or 60 bars and we presumed that there would be a love of things craft. We were ahead of the curve. Fast forward to 1989, our first bar in Bray. In order to make it different, we jump into a van, drive it to Belgium and fill it up with Belgian beers and also be the first bar in Ireland to import wheat beer. We saw the green shoots, there was an interest in beer. 1996, open The Porterhouse Brewing Company in Temple Bar with its own 10 barrel brew pub. Everybody thought we were crazy trying to take on the big boys. No we weren’t, we were just trying to brew great beer. Really enjoyed ourselves making great stouts and ales, won “The Best Stout in the World” twice. Then we went on to brew a really, really hoppy IPA, it was so good, so, so good nobody drank it! We were ahead of the curve, again. Opened a bar in London and persuaded Londoners they needed to drink craft draught Irish stout, not simply about the vacuum cleaner. The regular beers paid the mortgage then we got to indulge ourselves with strong ale matured in whiskey barrels, introduced the drinking public to Vienna dark lager, then we did a speciality Alt and a Kölsch. The grass roots continued, we could feel the beer revolution coming. Good news, new breweries on the horizon. We ring up Galway Hooker and say, “We wanna stock your beer”. We forge contacts with other similar craft breweries. The great Michael Jackson helped to set up the All Ireland Beer Competition. Back then we used to sit in the bar every Thursday evening just the four of us discussing beer, discussing the complexities, discussing the hop variety, discussing the malt, discussing what other flavour we could impart into our wonderful beers. What do we do now? We still do the same. Thirsty Thursdays still keep rocking on.
HAND CRAFTED BEERS BREWED IN SMALL BATCHES FOR A TRUE TASTE
Spring - 2015
Taxes + Beer = Love Forever A Tragic Love Affair Although Saint Valentine’s Day is behind us, some truly passionate relationships exist and last for a long time. Among those we can find a millenary “love affair” existing between taxation and beer. Revenues from beer taxation were important to finance military campaigns and give prosperity to various cities.
The first mention of the relationship between beer and specific levies for the rulers come from ancient times. The first known proper tax on beer was introduced in Egypt, where it was used to finance the war against the Roman troops. Modern history of beer taxation originates from Middle Ages.
The first beer taxes The appearance of beer taxes is related to beer production beyond rural and church communities. The increased presence led to the creation of privileges for making beer, linked to the payment of “licence fees”. Among those features was the “Grutrecht” (Grut = spice), which mentioned the beer ingredients and their fiscal charge. This law introduced by Charlemagne in 8th century was followed later by many local rulers. The first tax on beer itself was introduced in the German empire in 1220. In 1543 a tax was introduced in Bavaria and a hundred years later in England. Tax revenue from beer also allowed important urban development of cities sich as Bruges, Hamburg, Haarlem, Mons and Gdańsk. In Poland the beer levy became an important element to finance the cities and the country’s budget, reaching up to 1/3 of total revenues in the 17th century. The need to finance warfare brought attention to beer. Being a beverage produced everywhere at local level, beer became a taxation target. England’s first levy on ale was introduced in the 12th century, to finance the crusades. Some centuries later Polish rulers introduced a beer tax to fight former Crusaders, the Teutonic knights. Revenues of beer excise were a critical issue for the Dutch fighting against the Spanish Crown between 1568 and 1648. It is estimated that up to 19% of the military budget came from beer. Beer taxes today in Europe Excise taxes are indirect taxes applicable on specific good and services. Whereas the taxation rules in the European Union have been largely harmonised, the excise rates for beer remain part of the continental “diversity” as it is up to each country to fix the rates for different products such as alcoholic beverages. The rules approved in 1992 remain valid today, even though plans slowly appear to propose a new vision for excise taxation in the European Union. Regarding the rates, the highest countries have tended to remain constant. Ireland is usually in the Top 3.
Beer excise in Europe at 4% alc. (€ / l) January 2015
Finland UK Ireland Sweden Slovenia Italy Denmark France Estonia Netherlands Greece Cyprus Croatia Hungary Austria Portugal Poland Belgium Malta Slovakia Latvia Czech Rep. Lithuania Spain Romania Luxemburg Germany Bulgaria 0,00
By Jan Lichota
1,28 0,96 0,90 0,85
Jan is a delegate for the European Beer Consumers’ Union from Poland and a member of the Polish beer consumers’ group: Bractwo Piwne. He is is a lawyer by training, with over 10 years experience in EU Public Affairs, dealing with taxation, competition, business and consumer policies, tourism, strategy and governance issues.
0,48 0,30 0,30 0,30 0,29 0,28 0,26 0,24 0,21 0,21 0,20 0,19 0,18 0,18 0,17 0,14 0,12 0,12 0,11 0,10 0,09 0,08 0,08 0,08 0,20
The differences between countries results from the traditions concerning the
creation of tax pressure through indirect taxes in the budget compared to the personal income tax and company taxation. Taxes on beer are only part of the revenue from the excise tax on alcoholic beverages, among which the largest part comes from the spirits (in many EU countries the rate on wine is €0).
In view of the many discussions on the changes in the tax systems in the European Union, excise tax on beer and other beverages will certainly continue to be one of the threads in the future. The European Beer Consumers’ Union (EBCU) will be also among those giving its views on the topic, based on the key messages of its own manifesto.
Spring - 2015
Spotlight: Northern Ireland A report from the Northern Ireland CAMRA branch Northern Ireland has an exciting and expanding beer scene right now. More breweries are starting up every month and this should only benefit us the consumer with more choice in the pubs and offlicences. Or does it? While a new start-up is to be highly commended and supported, let’s hope these new breweries don’t blindly stumble into the play-itsafe mode. I know God loves a trier but, maybe more so, does he love those who take risks and deviate from the norm? 2015 has a potential of at least eight new breweries here - some of which already have beer on sale - and it would be a real shame if they all produced the same style of product. How would you choose which beer to have first if they all were the same? Would they effectively be cancelling each other out? Let’s hope not. The best way that doesn’t happen is for some new, or already established, breweries to brew something slightly left of centre; saisons, imperial stouts, bock/doppelbocks etc. Take my favourite Irish brewery, the fantastic Galway Bay, as an example. They have the delicious chocolate milk stout - Buried At Sea, a whiskey barrel aged imperial stout - Two Hundred Fathoms and of course Beoir’s 2014 Beer of the Year, the phenomenal Of Foam and Fury double IPA. Folk love them, revere them even. (An honourable mention must be made to NI’s Pokertree & Inishmacsaint for their recent Bière de Garde collaboration. They’re thinking outside the box.) There could be well over twenty companies brewing in Northern Ireland by Christmas and I for one want them all to succeed but experimentation may lead to greater prosperity.
Of course, these new independent breweries need somewhere to showcase their efforts. In Northern Ireland we have antiquated licensing laws and a market dominated, and dictated to, by one or two big players. This means that any pub/bar with the slightest tie, fiscal or otherwise, to one of these über companies cannot offer any real ale on draught outside of their portfolio. For some reason bottled & bottled-conditioned beers seem to slip through their talons, but woe-betide any landlord showing foresight and attempting to install a handpump! We in Northern Ireland have been informed that many pub owners in the ROI are simply sticking two fingers up to the big player(s) and offering beers from the new kids on the block to their patrons. Good for them!
The rise in craft breweries, and the number of real ales in particular, throughout the ROI is welcome and the resultant slump in sales from a well-known brewing dynasty, has led to a case of Schadenfreude. Still, it is interesting to note that this particular “beer fabricator” is stubbornly refusing to return to brewing the likes of their wonderful Single X Porter (last seen in the early 1970s) and simply hitting back by brewing their own versions of craft beers…what’s next, will they be trying to claim that they invented the term craft beer?
One of the biggest events in the CAMRA NI calendar is our Belfast Beer & Cider Festival. Every November, for three days, the grandeur of the historic Ulster Hall welcomes thousands of beer lovers/enthusiasts/geeks (is beer-curious a term?) responsibly experiencing up to one hundred real ales and thirty real ciders and perries. The festival continues to develop and improve year by year, with last year being a particular success for Co. Down brewery Farmageddon. This co-op was only unleashed to the unsuspecting public in spring 2014 and initially produced bottles of IPA, gold pale ale and India export porter. They then supplied their first cask beers to the festival and it went down a storm with many customers - selling out by the end of the second day. Since then, a cask or two has surreptitiously appeared in local pubs but we need more. We need more local beer pumps in pubs.
Roy Willighan & Phil Hernberg www.camrani.org.uk
Spring - 2015
25 Years Of EBCU Providing a Voice for the European Beer Consumer for 25 years We all know what an impact the European Union has had on our lives and the impact on beer is no exception but there is one group that has been fighting on our behalf. The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) represents beer consumer groups across Europe and it is celebrating 25 years in 2015.
It all started when CAMRA UK member, Iain Loe, and Belgian OBP member, Joris Pattyn, had a chat at a beer festival in autumn 1989. They thought that there could be some mileage if the existing European beer consumer groups got together as a vehicle for joint action. The following Spring, representatives from CAMRA and OBP were joined by PINT from the Netherlands to form the fledgling EBCU.
In the first few years it was a case of trying to agree common ground. The issues in each country are then, and even now, by no means the same. Take pub closures when only the UK thought this was an issue and was therefore not taken as a core campaign. Regrettably, there are now a number of countries that are up against the same trends.
It took a few years to decide upon how EBCU should campaign and in the mid 1990â€™s, EBCU ran their first EU Parliamentary reception, offering a platform to speak to MEPs and others involved in the Parliament. This is now an annual event and still provides an excellent lobbying opportunity. One of the key objectives of EBCU is to help fledgling beer consumer organisations. Denmark has been one of the real success stories with over 10,000 members of its beer consumer organisation, Danske Olentusiaster (not bad when the total population is only 5.6 million). The growth of small brewers and tasty beer, as opposed to nondescript lagers has been phenomenal, with more than 100 breweries and brew pubs, many represented at their annual beer festival in Copenhagen attracting thousands of drinkers.
The Finns too were an early joiner although the organisation that now represents Finnish drinkers, Olutliitto, is a combination of several Finnish beer societies. Often the EBCU will help get new organisations established by hosting a meeting in their country, such as with the Finns. The meeting led to them running a
beer festival, raising the organisationâ€™s profile. Latterly there was a meeting in Dublin, which was hosted by the newest member Beoir. Ireland is a country with an increasing interest in beer that is not a stout and there have been a number of new breweries set up in recent years. The meeting created a bit of a media stir giving support to this small but fast growing consumer organisation.
The EBCU now comprises of 13 countries who send up to two delegates to the meeting. They in turn elect a small Executive of five (all unpaid) who run the organisation on a daily basis. The meetings are held every six months and provide a route for sharing best practice, good ideas, support and issues. At the meeting in Ireland, Sweden raised their issues about the proposed changes in the way their state alcohol off sales monopoly, the Systembolaget, works, which would have an adverse impact on their small breweries. This is turn, would impact on sales of imported Danish beer and just shows the interaction and impact of one countryâ€™s decision on another.
Another key role is giving European beer consumers a voice as MEPs and the EU Commissioners are often looking to engage with just one body. The lobbying has been helpful in assisting Belgian brewers fight against a French proposal regarding high strength beer that would have had a huge impact on Belgian imports into France. It was also instrumental in highlighting to the UK, the Belgian and the Netherlands sliding
beer duty scale and assisting the UK with the arguments that led to its
introduction. This, of course, helped the growth of small breweries which
the UK is now enjoying.
So what is the relevance of EBCU today? It has established relations with the Brewers of Europe and the European Beer Club of MEPs, which provides useful channels of communication. At the moment, campaign-
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ing is centred around the agreed manifesto, which is about cost, diversity of beer and information for beer consumers. Needless to say, this includes beer duty, where the Nordic countries have a hard time. The stance being taken is that beer is a low alcohol drink of the general public
for every occasion.
Spring - 2015
25 Years Of EBCU Continued... In terms of information, the work is around labelling, something that the EU is currently consulting on. EBCU is lobbying for labels showing ingredients, who produces the beer and the place of origin to be compulsory; there have been lots of cases across Europe where a beer brewed in one country has been passed off as belonging to another. At the heart of its work is the belief that beer consumers should have a voice and together, we are stronger!
April 2015 meeting - Poland
Footnote: Some EBCU organisations are in the position to offer discounts to members from other countries including at beer festivals - try the Zythos Festival in Leuven. You can find the events and who the other members are at www.ebcu.org.
Find your local club www.nationalhomebrewclub.ie
The National Homebrew Club is Irelandâ€™s single biggest collective of homebrewers, with representation in all four provinces. The National Homebrew Club was born in 2011 to fulfil the needs of homebrewers in Ireland. The NHC is run by homebrewers, for homebrewers. Activities include: Brewing demonstrations, organised training (BJCP), promoting & running competitions, Little Talks series.
Spring - 2015
In Their Own Words Ireland’s American Brewmasters Rick LeVert of Kinnegar Brewing was born outside Boston. He attending brewing programs at both UC Davis in California and VLB Berlin. Brian Short of Brown Paper Bag Project is from Atlanta. He got into the industry through experience at a brewpub then brewed at Brouwerij ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. Richard Siberry of Black Donkey Brewing grew up in Drogheda but spent nearly 20 years in New York City, where he homebrewed. He moved to Roscommon in 2012. Pete Reynier of Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company spent six years in Colorado, inlcluding work at Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins, before coming to Ireland last May. Joe Kearns of The White Hag Brewery is an Ohio native. He studied chemistry at University of Akron and apprenticed at Hoppin’ Frog Brewery.
Based on your experience in the US, what was your impression of the state of craft beer in Ireland when you arrived here? Pete, Wicklow Wolf: Overall, shocking: it’s all Guinness, Heineken, Bulmer’s. The big boys dominate the market; where I lived you get can any beer in the world almost anywhere. I’d been spoiled for choice in Colorado. Richard, Black Donkey: A year before I came back [in 2011], I went onto internet forums and asked, “Where are the Irish-made barleywines, the tripels?” And the universal response was, “Ireland won’t drink that,” even among people who were into the scene. Craft beer was growing but it was still blinkered, pigenonholed - there was no experimentation, no risk-taking. Brian, BPBP: It was eye-opening to see that if it wasn’t served in a certain glass, people didn’t want it. We had 8% beers served in half pints, but that didn’t fly - people wanted to know what you could get in a pint. People are now open to different strengths, style, serving.
How do you think Irish palate has changed in the past few years? Rick, Kinnegar: We do test products on a pilot facility. Some hoppy American beers were available back when we started, and we got good feedback when we tested one like that. We guessed right: there’s an appetite for hoppy beers, and it’s increasing. People are looking for even hoppier beers. Brian, BPBP: The pure fact that we still exist shows how the market has changed. That’s not something I’d have thought possible two and a half years ago, that people would want to drink salty beer - and Gøse was one of our more popular ones. You never want to do something for the sake of being weird. It needs to be drinkable at the end of the day. Joe, White Hag: Black Boar [White Hag’s 10.2% Imperial Stout] got shipped straight to New York when we made it and I got an earful from the beer nerds. I had to tell them why: All the distributors and publicans said, “Nobody in Ireland will buy that.” A year later people are going into shops asking “Where’s the Black Boar?” and offies are asking me for it. It shows how far we’ve come.
31 breweries opened in Ireland last year. In the US local breweries now compete for shelf and tap space; should we worry about that happening here? Richard, Black Donkey: It used to be shelf space was up for grabs. Now, there’s a finite amount of space. I suspect that the breweries who are coming up now, unless they have a defined path to market, will find the competition very stiff. We worked hard for the market we have. Joe, White Hag: It’s already like that, a constant struggle - how do you get shelf space, and how do you keep it? Seasonals can keep the consumer interested. But it’s not just about shelf space, it’s about cold shelf space. Mine is an East Coast IPA - as much malt as hops. If it sits on a shelf for a month, the malts come forward and the hops take a back seat. It’s a problem, and will continue to be. Rick, Kinnegar: People compete for tap handles now, and that’s a good thing. If it wasn’t this way, there’d be a lot of bad products on the shelves. I’m just back from the Craft Brewers Conference: in the US last year there were 500 brewery openings but only 45 closings. The attrition rate is actually quite low. The question is: what’s the natural balance in Ireland?
By Richard Lubell @slugtrap
Spring - 2015
In Their Own Words Continued... Founders and Lagunitas have recently made moves to suggest they’ll have a bigger presence in Ireland - what will that do to the market and consumer tastes? Rick, Kinnegar: It will grow the market. I don’t see it as a negative; it all leads to bigger exposure for craft beer. People say, “Diageo are doing craft, that’s the end for you” - I don’t see it that way. If they’re doing marketing, they’re awakening people to craft. I see it as positive. Brian, BPBP: It’s huge. It’s a matter of having quality readily accessible - not only to clue people in, but to make brewers up their game. Pete, Wicklow Wolf: There’s so much room for growth, even with the big boys moving in - they create more market share for craft beer. People will try new things as they try new things. Once they start going down that path and realize that they enjoy these things, anybody can like anything.
Do you see the taste for hops as an American thing or is it now a global thing? Richard, Black Donkey: America is definitely a market leader; they said, “This is not a fad, this is not going away.” Now that it’s been proven there’s still risk, but you can say “Yeah, this should work,” when it comes to opening a brewery. Still, IBUs should never be a buzzword for a beer. Rick, Kinnegar: It’s not just an American thing, but cultures might do it a bit differently. The breweries that have done well in the UK, the one that are standing out, are doing American-style hop-forward beers, but they are not all doing West Coast IPAs. There is a universal interest, it does transcend the States by a long shot. Brian, BPBP: There is something to the hoppy thing but it’s nearly become what your standard lager used to be: ubiquitous, not interesting. People are savvy enough to want something else. Eventually there’ll be a balance. The change has already started in the US. Joe, White Hag: It would be nice if the Irish didn’t get too much into IPAs because they’re expensive to make - it’s hard to get hops in Ireland!
How is your locality reflected in your business? Richard, Black Donkey: We’re surrounded by pasture land, a farmer uses our spent grain, lots of things are done manually, our equipment is basic. We reflect our surroundings in our ethos: quality in, quality out. We consider Connaught to be home and we feel it’s underserved but we’d be hard pressed to pay our bills with just the customers within 15 miles of the brewery. So if we’re going 30 miles, there’s no difference shipping 130 miles. Then you might as well distribute. Pete, Wicklow Wolf: We’re trying to keep it community first: football clubs, farmers markets, beer sausages with a local butcher. On brew days [Bray] locals smell that sweet grain smell and know it’s us - that’s cool about being in a small town. At the moment, we’re also expanding our hop planting. We’ll have Cascade, Perle, Chinook, and Bramling Cross - different countries, flavors, brewing options. It will never supply all our needs, but it shows hop farms can thrive here. Brian, BPBP: We’ve never pretended that we have a brewery here. Having the option to do a Belgian beer in Belgium is a luxury other breweries don’t have. At the end of the day it comes down to being genuine. It becomes a problem when you’re deceiving people. We won’t hide where we brew any of our brews.
How does Ireland fit into the international beer scene in the next few years? Will they continue to follow the US or develop a signature style? Pete, Wicklow Wolf: If we push what is popular in the States, that’s what will sell. It is a young market, so we can show people that there are a wide variety of options. The American market showed that you can make any style from any country and if you find your market, you’re good to go. Rick, Kinnegar: What you’ll see in Ireland, stylistically, will be hybrid: American, Belgian influences coming in, yeast experimentation. Ireland is a bridge between Europe and the States, and that will be true for beer, too. Brian, BPBP: What makes things really interesting is travelling to places that are forging their own identity. It is a global phenomenon; hopefully it will veer away from America as inspiration. What Ireland has going for itself is a sense of national pride. I won’t try to predict what the future holds because I’ll be wrong. Joe, White Hag: You have young people who have traveled and a lot of them developed a taste for good beer, and they will drive the market. I hear, “My Dad is a Guinness drinker” - that’s the image now. I’m hopeful. The whole world is embracing craft beer - it’s growing in South Africa, China is becoming one of the biggest importers of craft. Whether or not Ireland can make a mark is up to the brewers.
Spring - 2015
Pub Spotlight: Dublin 57 The Headline 57 The Headline stands on the corner of Clanbrassil Street and South Circular Road. Clanbrassil Street was opened in 1868, though historic maps show a premises at this corner predating this time. The pub used to be a favourite watering hole for people going to events at the National Stadium- I remember dropping in for a pint in 1990 after a Meatloaf concert. When it closed its doors in 2011, it was doubtful that it would reopen as Ireland was in a recesson and pub licences were being detached from their premises and sold off separately. It looked like The Headline was a pub that had its day. Then in October 2013 it was completely renovated and reopened by Maire Ni Mhaolie and Geoff Carty. Geoff was well known to many in the Dublin craft beer scene, he had managed The Bull & Castle back when there were only a handful of pubs serving Irish craft beer in the capital. He was also influential in introducing cask beer back to Ireland. He was always there behind the bar for the ICB meetings - ICB (Irish Craft Brewers) went on to form Beoir. When Geoff announced that he was going to open his own premises, there was a lot of excitement in the community. And then a little trepidation once the location was revealed. It was a little off the beaten track, it was not going to get major tourist footfall and there was also the worry that the venue would also fail to draw a local crowd, especially if they were looking for yet another pub to buy macro beers in. The oft-repeated mantra of “location, location, location” was mentioned many times. All that worry was for nothing. I feel that it was down to the combination of the owners’ belief in the site and the upswing in interest in craft beers. The pub itself is a great mix of eclectic furniture. It is bright, comfortable and homely, and a completely different atmosphere from most pubs, including itself pre-reincarnation. It even has a snug of sorts, a little intimate room up a few steps from the main area, tastefully furnished with a couple of couches. A large blackboard adorns the wall at one end of the pub, keeping punters up to date with the latest beer, food and whiskey offerings. About the beer: 57 The Headline is a craft bar only. You will not find any Heineken or Diageo beer on sale here. What you will find is probably the largest range of Irish craft beer taps in Ireland, most are Irish with a couple of imports. Half are permanent while the other half rotate. This means that no matter how many times you visit the pub, the chances are that there’s a beer on tap that you will not have tried before.
Of course, the downside of this, is that great pale ale that you had last week might not be on either. It pays to watch The Headline’s tweets, they know how to use Twitter right and let punters know what’s on and what’s coming on.
By Andrew Moore It’s not all about beer though. Geoff is a bit of a whiskey buff and keeps a rather ex-
cellent range of bottles on his shelf. The food is also excellent, with Eric Heilig having taken over the kitchen, The Headline now serves possibly the best bar food in Dublin. And this has been extended to Maire’s latest project: Upstairs @57. The 1st floor has been opened and given a serious makeover. Last December, it opened as a restaurant serving some seriously good food, fresh and seasonal. With a decent wine list to match if you are into that sort of thing.
Andrew is our site admin and app developer and is responsible for the wonderful BeoirFinder app. He also does anything that needs doing. He is an avid craft beer fan, brewer and chocolateier.
And that’s not all that is going on here: There are also tutored beer tasting sessions, whiskey appreciation classes and many Irish Brewers have chosen to launch themselves here (St Mels and Black Donkey most recently) or launch new beers (Kinnegar, Wicklow Wolf and Galway Hooker). Not bad for a business which is only open just over 18 months. This is just indicative of how well Geoff is regarded in the Irish craft beer community. All this is topped off by staff that are genuinely engaged with the products they are selling. It’s great to see a barman who can talk a Guinness or Heineken drinker around to sampling some of the craft offerings on tap, being knowledgeable without being condescending. It’s even more impressive when you realise that he’s probably already had to do that 20 times so far this shift.
57 The Headline is a great little pub, a fantastic addition to the Dublin craft beer, whiskey and food scene and a place that I would easily list as one of my locals. Sure, it’s not in a location that is easy for most non-locals to get to but I, and I suspect many others, are prepared to go a little out of the way to drop in on a regular basis. And it’s not hard to understand why- this has become one of Dublin’s “Must Visit” pubs.
57 The Headline 57 Clanbrassil Street Dublin 8 (01) 532 0279 @57theheadline
Spring - 2015
Beer Festivals in Ireland February: Valentines Weekend: Winter ales & Cask Festival - Franciscan Well - Cork / Alltech Brews & Food - Convention Centre - Dublin Easter Weekend: Easterfest Beer Festival - Franciscan Well - Cork St Patrickâ€™s weekend: The Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Festival - RDS - Dublin June: Bloom In The Park - Phoenix Park - Dublin / Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival - Brewery Corner - Kilkenny July: Killarney Beer Festival / Franciscan Well Cider Festival August: 28th-30th Hilden Beer Festival - Hilden - Antrim / Doolin Craft Beer Festival - Doolin - Clare 27th - 29th - Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival - RDS - Dublin November: Belfast Beer festival - Belfast
Dates Are indicative. Please See the Beoir.org calendar for more info.
Beoir is Ireland’s craft beer consumer group. We are a volunteer run, non-profit organisation seeking to raise awareness of Ireland’s independent breweries. We also campaign on a European level with our partners in the EBCU. We are the voice of the Irish & European beer consumer. We are only as effective as our membership and we are always seeking new members. Beoir membership costs just €10 per year, a very modest amount considering what you get back in return.
Did you know that not being a Beoir member actually costs you money? It’s true! Here’s how: • Beoir members get €10 worth of vouchers for use in Galway Bay Brewery bars. That’s your money back right there. • Members get 10% off Irish Beer & Cider at Drinkstore.ie • Members get substantial discounts on entry to many beer related events around the country. • Access to many brewery & beer launches throughout the year. • There are too many discounts to list here, see the member benefits page on Beoir.org for more details.
Do I have to get involved in activities? As with everything in life, you get out of it what you put in. If all you want to do is support us and use the member benefits, that’s fine. If you volunteer your time at events, you will get more out of it than you can imagine.
Beoir Needs Your Help! Here’s what we use the money for: • Website & Hosting costs. • Printing of marketing items such as beer mats, flyers and any other items we need. • The cost of this very magazine to inform general consumers and tourists about Irish Craft Beer. • App Development • Beoir Awards trophies • Competition prizes • And much much more
How do I join Beoir? The quickest option is to join online at www.beoir.org If you would prefer to join offline, that’s fine too. Simply fill out the form below and post it along with a cheque for €10 made payable to Beoir at: 265 Lower Kimmage Road, Dublin 6W Cut Along Line ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Spring - 2015
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Published on May 13, 2015
Issue 2 of our Bi-Annual printed magazine. Beoir is an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awarenes...