The Dingle Brewing Co. creates only one product, Tom Crean’s Fresh Irish Lager, but it boasts a rapidly growing audience across Ireland.
Many small breweries are starting to pop up in Ireland, shaking up the beer scene with craft-style beers. For generations, Irish pubs had little variety. There was only stout, Irish red ale or mainstream lager.
“When we opened (in 2011) there were just 16 small breweries in Ireland,” said brewery founder Jerry O’Sullivan. “Today, there are 60 or 70.”
Crean's lager, described by the Boston Herald as a “golden, effervescent, easy-drinking beer,” is made with Kerry's natural spring water which is “so clean and pure it is unfiltered and untreated.” The beer is named after a heroic Irish explorer who survived Shackleton’s “Endurance” expedition to the South Pole during World War I.
The brewery sits on a 19th-century fieldstone dairy barn in the popular tourist town of Dingle, a beautiful little fishing village in rural Country Kerry.
On St Patrick’s Day, Crean’s debuted in Boston, an American city with strong connections to Dingle. As the westernmost point in Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula has been called “the next parish to Boston,” and many of Boston’s Irish Americans have roots in Kerry.
The Dingle brewery reflects this history with images of Boston on its walls. There are pictures of founder O’Sullivan with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh; a collection of police patches from Massachusetts towns, and a guest book signed by many visitors from across the Bay State.
While many Kerry craft beer makers are creating IPA's and red ales, the Dingle Brewing Co. is tackling the large lager market. The brewing company seems to be making an impact, and O’Sullivan says he sees Guinness’s recently released craft-style beers, such as Hop House 13 — an effervescent golden Irish lager, similar to Crean’s— "as a shot across the bow of the fledgling Irish craft beer industry," the Boston Herald reports.
“We’re public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Guinness,” says O’Sullivan.