The number of microbreweries operating in Ireland has increased significantly in recent years due to a surge in public interest in independent craft beers.
That’s according to the organisers of the 2nd annual Doolin Craft Beer Festival, in County Clare.
Fifteen domestically produced craft beers from some of Ireland’s best microbreweries will be among dozens of beers and ciders to be showcased at the festival which is being hosted by Hotel Doolin and will also feature artisan food and live music.
Among the Irish microbreweries showcasing craft beers will be The Carlow Brewing Company (Carlow), 8 Degrees Brewing (Cork), The Dungarvan Brewing Company (Waterford), The White Gypsy Brewery (Tipperary), The Franciscan Well Brewery (Cork), Galway Hooker (Galway), Trouble Brewing (Kildare) and Stonewell Cider (Cork).
“Ireland has traditionally had a long history of brewing with almost every small town in Ireland at one point having a microbrewery. The rise to dominance of the larger beer companies however, saw Irish beer production decline,” explained Hotel Doolin General Manager, Donal Minihane.
He added: “At the beginning of the 19th century there were over 200 breweries in the country, producing a wide range of Irish beer. This number dropped significantly by the beginning of the 20th century due to the dominance of a few large and famous breweries. By 2007, there were only 12 breweries in the country, with most producing mass-produced beer, backed by formidable marketing budgets. However, independent craft beers have seen an explosion in popularity in recent years with increasing numbers of pubs around the country now serving Irish beers and ciders.”
He continued: “As with the food we serve in our restaurant and bar we also feel that we should be supporting indigenous suppliers when it comes to beers and there is no shortage of quality there. We stock a large range of Irish Craft Beers in Fitzpatrick’s Bar and we have seen a great response from our customers particularly our foreign guests who want to sample local beers rather than beers they can get in their own country.”
“Following on from this, last year saw the launch of our own craft beer ‘Dooliner Beer’ which has proved extremely popular with both locals and tourists alike. Nowadays, it’s not just about slapping a pint of lager up on the counter and walking off, customers want to know where the beer comes from, what’s in it, how it is made and the history behind it,” added Mr. Minihane.
This year Hotel Doolin will again partner with Seamus O’Hara who has been instrumental in the re-emergence of craft brewing in Ireland. After seeing the wider range of beers available in bars in the United States and continental Europe, Seamus O'Hara and his brother Eamonn established the Carlow Brewing Company in 1996. Due to the dominance of macro beers in Ireland at the time, the brewery was initially very export orientated, but interest in the brewery and craft beer in general has increased.
The upcoming Doolin Craft Beer Festival will also focus strongly on artisan and local food producers. Local food suppliers will join BBQ specialist and Hotel Doolin Head Chef Peter Jackson by hosting stands each day from midday to 10pm. Tickets cost €10.00 each & include a free commemorative festival glass.
Mr. Minihane noted that Hotel Doolin is a strong supporter of artisan food and drink producers throughout the hotel, in the bar, restaurant and in the hotel’s very own artisan food shop ‘The Doolin Pantry.’ Hotel Doolin even has its very own ‘Slow Food Wedding Package,’ which incorporates the very best of local produce.
“The Pantry showcases the work of some of the North Clare area’s many artisan producers and is complemented by the hotel’s local craft fair each Sunday. The Hotel is continuing to explore new ways of supporting local business and maintaining its growing status as a green friendly hotel operator. Hotel Doolin has its own vegetable gardens and hens, it harvests rainwater, is a gold medal winner with the Green Hospitality award, and recently opened the Doolin t-shirt company with our own branded t-shirts,” he concluded.
The annual Doolin Craft Beer Festival will take place on the grounds of Hotel Doolin from 23-25 August 2013.