O'Hara's Carlow Brewing Company was established in 1996

The number of microbreweries operating in Ireland has increased significantly in recent years due a surge in public interest in independent craft beers. That’s according to the organizers of the 2nd annual Doolin Craft Beer Festival in County Clare from 23rd to 25th August.

15 domestically produced craft beers from some of Ireland’s best microbreweries will be amongst dozens of beers and ciders to be showcased at the festival, which is being hosted by Hotel Doolin and will also feature some of Clare’s best musicians along with food from local Artisan producers.

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 (Roscommon), Trouble Brewing (Kildare), The Donegal Brewing Company (Donegal) 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.

Donegal Blonde Craft Beer from the newly
formed Donegal Brewing Company
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.”

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. 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.

For a Full List of all the Craft Beers appearing at the festival see: www.irishcraftbeerfestival.comThe Annual Doolin Craft Beer Festival will take place on the grounds of Hotel Doolin from 23-25 August 2013.

For more Irish Food News from Zack see www.IrishFoodGuide.ie