This June, Mintel Ireland released its Innovations in Beer report which stated that, “craft beer sales were valued at €15 million for the full year of 2014 – approximately a 40% increase on 2013’s figures.
“As the craft beer market continues to grow, we find that Irish consumers are becoming more open to trying new variants of beer – in particular, those produced on a small scale.
“The number of microbreweries operating on the island of Ireland has almost doubled in size in 2014 with this growth estimated to continue into 2015. However, we find that it’s not just microbreweries innovating within this field as supermarkets such as Tesco and Lidl are also jumping on the craft beer ‘train’ with these supermarkets launching their own brands of craft beer in 2015.”
Over at Canadean, the Alcoholic Beverages Account Director Kevin Baker agrees that the consumer desire to always be looking for something different has helped fuel the growth in craft beers.
Today’s typical craft beer consumer is a 25-35 year-old urban professional who enjoys high levels of disposable income, he says.
It goes without saying then that the rise of craft beers has seen a degree of shift away from traditional beers but they’re also affecting imported beers.
“An increased interest in craft beer and microbreweries is taking share away from the other imported beer segments,” believes IWSR which states in its 2014 annual report on alcoholic drinks consumption that, “Craft beers are growing from a small base. Local produce is of significance to the Irish consumer, therefore volumes of local beer remain high”.
And in its recently-published annual report, the Irish Brewers Association puts the turnover of the craft beer producers at €23 million in 2014 and points out that the craft beer sector continues to be a success story, making up an estimated 1.2% of the market, with 40% of microbreweries exporting. It estimates 2015’s turnover at nearly €40 million for 2015.
Back in 2012 just nine craft breweries existed in Ireland but a new report from the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland entitled Craft Beer and Microbreweries in Ireland estimates that there are 63 microbreweries now operating here of which 48 are production microbreweries and 15 are contracting companies.
The report states that between 2011 and 2014 the output of production microbreweries rose more than threefold.
According to the ICBI report, output is expected to increase again by 70% this year and again by 64% in 2016.
25% of craft beer production was exported in 2014.
In 2012 craft beers accounted for under 0.5% of the overall beer market but Bord Bia reckons that by 2020 “we will be looking at having around 100 craft beer microbreweries on the island of Ireland with a market share within the overall beer market of 5%.”
The ICBI report predicts, “Given the growth in microbrewery production to 86,000hl in 2014, the share of craft beer in total beer production was 1.2% in 2014. With the current and anticipated trends in craft beer production, the Irish craft beer market share is likely to reach 2.0% and 3.3% in 2015 and 2016 respectively.”
A total turnover of €23 million has been estimated for 2014 which is projected to rise to nearly €40 million for 2015.
Craft beers account for 11% of the total market for beer in the US and in some American states such as Oregon, craft beer now accounts for 40% of all beer sales. So the potential is there.
Some good news from Alltech
Since acquiring The Station Works Brewery in July of this year, The Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company has been busy brewing up a storm in Newry, County Down. Dedicated to offering consumers real choice in the Irish beer sector, the brewery has the capacity to produce 40,000 hectolitres which will see Irish Masterbrewer John O’Brien kept on his toes. John has been learning the intricacies and recipes from US Masterbrewer Mark Phipps to ensure that the quality and consistency of The Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company portfolio along with its new brands, Finn Lager and Foxes Rock Ale, are perfected for its Irish customer base.
The brew team are working on a new brew for the Irish market due out in the coming months and in the meantime the sales team, under Conor Farrell, has produced new formats for the off-trade including a 330ml bottle now available as a four-pack.
Expect to see the full range of beers from bourbon country in the coming weeks. There’s also welcome news to share with other Irish craft brewers in the trade. The Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company has spare capacity to bottle, label and package in Newry for fellow brewers.
O’Hara’s expands into the orchard
2015 is another busy year for Carlow Brewing Company. The independent Irish brewery better-known as O’Hara’s has scaled the orchard wall this year with the addition of the Falling Apple cider brand to its portfolio.
The growing popularity of the award-winning O’Hara’s craft beer range of beers including O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Irish Red Ale and Irish Pale Ale has led to a €1.5 million investment by the company which has allowed the brewery to expand significantly with a brand new production facility and 12 additional local jobs.
“The expansion gives us room to innovate and try new beer styles which is exciting as it means we can bring more seasonal and limited-edition beers to market like our international collaborations or, for example, our Hop Adventure series developed to showcase the most interesting hops from around the world (the first edition in this single hop series features Sorachi Ace and the second edition is due out later this year),” explained Carlow Brewing Company’s Chief Executive Seamus O’Hara, “At the same time, the expansion gives us the capacity to meet the rapidly-growing demand for our core range, in particular our Irish Stout and IPA.”
O’Hara’s collaborated with Poland’s Browar Pinta to produce the limited-edition ‘Lublin to Dublin’ robust milk stout and a US collaboration with Virginia-based Starr Hill Brewery resulted in the limited-edition ‘Foreign Affair’ Red IPA. A return trip is planned for early 2016 with Seamus and Head Brewer Conor Donoghue travelling stateside for a second collaboration brew with a new beer expected for St Patrick’s Day.
9 White Deer Brewery of Baile Bhúirne, Co Chorcai, has pioneered the innovative gluten-free beer, Saor.
Up to this point, 9 White Deer Brewery had crafted three other beers: Stag Bán, Stag Rua and the award-winning Black Lightning.
Saor is Ireland’s first gluten-free beer and it was released to the public in May 2015.
According to statistics from the Celiac Society of Ireland, one in every 100 people in Ireland have celiac disease. To facilitate this minority, 9 White Deer Brewery owners Gordon Lucey and Don O’Leary created Ireland’s first gluten-free craft beer.
It’s even suitable for people who choose this as a healthier option as it only contains 203kcal.
Each batch of Saor is independently tested and certified to maintain its excellence and to ensure that each batch complies with EU regulations of less than 20ppm of gluten.
For more information on these uniquely crafted beers please contact 9 White Deer Brewery, 026-27110, or contact the distributor, Classic Drinks, on 021-4510056.
More cans for Metalman
Metalman Brewing Company in Waterford has extended its range of canned beers. Following the release of its flagship Metalman Pale Ale in cans earlier this year, the brewery has added two of its popular seasonal beers to the range. Equinox is a refreshing wheat lager with a citrus kick of orange and lemon and a little coriander for a hint of spice. Heatsink is a smoked chilli porter brewed with beech-smoked malt and cayenne pepper giving a pleasant warm finish. Now, the canned trio offers a diverse choice to craft beer consumers across the Metalman Brewing canned range.
Metalman Brewing is currently the only craft brewery in Ireland canning its beer on-site. Canning was a risky decision for owners Grainne Walsh and Tim Barber but as Grainne explains, “we looked at the options we had based on the resources we had and we determined that the best quality beer we could deliver to the customer was going to be in cans – they are an excellent package for beer, protecting it completely from light and air”.
Craft beer in cans is becoming increasingly popular, with more high quality canned beer appearing in independent off-licences every week.
The new range will be distributed exclusively in Ireland by Four Corners and will be available from August onwards at all good beer retailers.
To find out more about Metalman Brewing beers, visit the website at www.metalmanbrewing.com.
Cap: From left: Head of Sales David O’Hare with Head of Production Patrick Hurley and Managing Director Daire Harlin.
Brú Brewery, from Trim, Co Meath, won three awards at the 2015 World Beer Awards including a Gold Medal for its Gluten-free lager. It also won a Silver for its Irish Red Ale and a Bronze medal for its Irish Craft IPA. The World Beer Awards is the most prestigious competition for beer globally and recognises the world’s best beers.
Brú Lager has been recognised for its crisp refreshing hand-crafted flavour and finish and is the only gluten-free Irish craft lager available on the Irish market.
“We’re delighted with this recognition for our brewery and our craft beers,” stated Brú brewer Paddy Hurley, “Awards in three categories, including a Gold Medal, reflect the passion and dedication of the team to brewing the finest quality hand-crafted beer using locally-sourced ingredients.”
Brú Brewery was founded in 2012 by Daire Harlin and Paddy and has grown from strength to strength.
Brú beers are now available in 16 countries worldwide.
Independent Brewing Company
Independent Brewing launched in January 2014. Located in Carraroe, in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht, along the Wild Atlantic Way, this craft brewery has already established itself as an artisan producer of award-winning, high quality beers. It also has the distinction of being the only craft brewery in the Connemara Gaeltacht.
The Coral Strand or Trá an Dóilín is situated within a mile from the microbrewery. This beautiful beach is made of tiny pieces of maerl, which are coral-like in appearance. This unique local feature provides the inspiration for its beer and artwork. Like the Coral Strand, its beer is a natural product with no added chemicals or additives.
Its flavourful beer has been recognised for its excellence on a national and international level and is brewed in small batches with the focus on flavour and quality. It prides itself on using only the finest ingredients. Each bottle is capped and labelled by hand. The beer is not centrally distributed with any of the multiples and so provides publicans and off-licensees with a genuinely unique product to sell.
Originally most of its distribution was focused in the West of Ireland but due to recent expansion, its beer is now available nationally and internationally.
If interested in stocking this beer, please get in touch and let the Independent Brewing Company bring an authentic taste of the West to your customers.
For more information check out independentbrewing.ie or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.