As the on-trade beer market continues to lose share to the off-trade, the growing presence of the Premium Bottled Ales & Stouts category may have helped slow down this drift.
While it has always been acknowledged that the only market for draught stout is the pub, the growing demand for a larger variety of ales and stouts there generally should be taken seriously by the publican.
According to the Irish Brewers Association sales of ale grew market share slightly in 2013 to 5.4% from 5.2% of the beer market in 2012 while Guinness Stout sales actually grew slightly.
The 2013 and 2014 markets are likely to see a revival of the ales and stouts market as more innovations reached the on-trade market.
Something new brewing at Guinness
The first releases from The Brewers Project at St James’s Gate were launched onto the market here last September.
Guinness Dublin Porter and Guinness West Indies Porter were inspired by authentic recipes whose origins lie in the historic Guinness brewers’ diaries from the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Now available in selected pubs and retailers around Ireland, the two ‘newcomers’ combine a rich heritage of 255 years of beer-making experience and a proud legacy of innovation.
‘The Brewers Project’ gives Guinness’s enterprising brewers license to explore new recipes, reinterpret old ones and collaborate freely to bring exciting beers to life.
With origins in a 1796 entry in Guinness brewers’ diaries, Guinness Dublin Porter was inspired by the golden age of porter in the 1800s, a time when porter was the working man’s beer. After a long day’s work in Dublin or London, Guinness was the beer of choice.
Guinness West Indies Porter is based on an 1801 diary entry for the first Guinness purposely brewed to maintain its freshness from one end of the world to another. To guarantee the best quality upon arrival, Guinness brewers made a porter with more hops and a higher gravity. With their distinctive tastes, these new porters will offer beer lovers in Ireland and the UK something different.
“As beer lovers’ tastes and the beer landscape itself evolves, it’s important we continue to stay at the forefront of beer innovation,” comments the Head of Innovation for Guinness, Nick Curtis-Davis.
Smithwick’s launches Smithwick’s Blonde
Smithwick’s is celebrating the launch of the latest addition to the Smithwick’s product range, Smithwick’s Blonde, available on tap and bottle in selected pubs and off-licences.
Part of the Brewmaster Product Range, Smithwick’s Blonde has been developed to deliver the perfect blend of hops and malt suitable for any occasion.
“Smithwick’s Blonde is a hugely exciting innovation for us and will add to our existing Smithwick’s range of ales.,” commented Smithwick’s Brewer Luis Ortega, “Blonde will offer lager and ale drinkers a fresh alternative new drink of choice with a delicious balance of hops and malt.”
Apart from draught, Smithwick’s Blonde is available in 500ml bottles and has an ABV of 4.1%
Smithwick’s Blonde will be supported Through-The-Line with a new advertising campaign this month.
O’Hara’s – one of the ale & stout originators
As one of the originators and innovators of the craft brewing revival in Ireland, Carlow Brewing Company has been at the forefront of the craft brewing movement in recent years.
O’Hara’s Irish Stout, the flagship of the O’Hara brand, is a uniquely Irish stout which brings the drinker back to how Irish stouts used to taste, believes Seamus O’Hara who started it all off in 1999 when he first brewed the stout. It has since been awarded numerous prestigious honours for its quality and authenticity.
O’Hara’s Irish Stout has a robust roast flavour complemented by a full-bodied and smooth mouth feel. A generous addition of Fuggle hops lends a tart bitterness to the dry espresso-like finish. This sessionable stout beer is filled with rich complex coffee aromas mingled with light liquorice notes. The combination of traditional stout hops with an extra pinch of roast barley allows it to stay true to Irish tradition, recreating a taste so often yearned for by stout drinkers.
Another international award-winning beer from the Carlow Brewing Company is the O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale. This is a contemporary style IPA with an Irish twist which combines the balance of European IPAs with the generous dry-hopping of American Pale Ales. This beer is everything an IPA should be and more. Zesty and refreshingly bitter, the finish is long. With a copper-toned body topped with a lightly carbonated head, the dry-hopping brings an intense aroma and lasting array of fruit and floral notes. This IPA is perfect paired with spicy food, shellfish or BBQ dishes. O’Hara’s IPA has gained a huge following in Ireland over the last number of years and is the most popular of the O’Hara’s range on the Irish market.
Meet McGargle’s Uncle Jim
McGargles Uncle Jim’s Stout from the Rye River Brewing Company is a rich creamy stout and a natural addition to its family of small batch brews. No brewery in Ireland would be complete without this global Irish favourite. This refined and finished stout has been brewed in Rye River Brewery in Kilcock, Co Kildare, to deliver the full-bodied roast flavour that stout lovers expect. McGargles own Uncle Jim’s Stout is a smooth, well-rounded stout with the aroma of a subtle roasted coffee and chocolate nose which complement each other effortlessly. The flavour of rich creamy chocolate balances the bitterness from the Herkules hops.
McGargles Uncle Jim’s Stout pours perfectly into its new glass, its shape allowing its customers to fully appreciate its aroma and bouquet, showcasing it perfectly.
While stout by nature is characterised as a strong beer, Uncle Jim’s Stout (ABV 4.5%) delivers the full richness in flavour but not the heaviness sometimes associated with other stouts. It goes perfectly with venison or a rich aromatic beef stew. Uncle Jim’s Stout is currently available on tap in pubs across Ireland and will soon launch in the US and Canada.
West Waterford due brew up a storm
Blackwater Distillery and Dungarvan Brewing Company came together last month to distil up something very special. The Cappoquin-based distillery turned the Dungarvan Brewing Company’s 800 litres of oatmeal stout into 100 litres of bottled spirit, the first time it has ever been done in Ireland.
This is being matured in sherry casks for just a couple of months before being bottled in time for the West Waterford Festival of Food this April.
This year marks Dungarvan Brewing Company’s fifth birthday and Head Brewer Cormac O’Dwyer explained, “I wanted to mark our fifth birthday with something special so was very excited when Peter came to me with this idea. I’m looking forward to tasting the end result!”.
Vanguard Beer Collective
For those thinking of going into the craft stout and ale market for the first time or those considering expanding their range, the Vanguard Beer Collective has set itself up as the one-stop-shop for Irish Craft Beer.
Launched in 2013 to address the obstacles preventing craft beer from being more widely available in pubs and restaurants it was born partly out of long-standing frustration over the limited selection of beer that nearly every pub in Ireland carried. Vanguard brings together craft breweries from all over Ireland and now offers the publican or restaurateur access to many different breweries with a single consolidated order, delivery and invoice, saving them time and hassle.
It manages the installation of taps, distribution of draft and bottled beer, line-cleaning, Point Of Sale marketing and promotion, emergency maintenance and payment processing. This allows the breweries to do more of what they do best, brewing great craft beer.
Included in its range are beers from the Brehon Brewhouse, Eight Degrees Brewing, Rascals Brewing, Bo Bristle and The Reel Deel Brewery.