The Stag Saor range features five gluten-free beers: a Red Ale, a Pale Ale, an IPA, a Kolsch and a Stout.
The brewery, based in the Muscraí Gaeltacht in Ballyvourney, was founded in 2014 by former marine engineer Gordon Lucey and publican Don O’Leary who runs the Mills Inn pub there. The brewery initially offered a core range of four beers but within the company’s first year Don was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance which essentially determined the direction for the business.
“At first the timing seemed terrible” reveals Don, “we’d just opened a craft brewery and I identified a gluten intolerance! However, the development of Stag Saor has changed everything for the business. It prompted us to research the market and see how limited the beer offering is for those with gluten intolerance. There have been a very small number of gluten-free lagers and pale ales developed in Ireland over the last two years but, with options still very limited, we identified an opportunity to create a full range of gluten-free beers which also taste really good.”
Each batch of the Stag Saor range is independently tested and certified to maintain its excellence and to ensure that it complies with EU regulations of less than 20ppm of gluten, explains co-founder Gordon Lucey who began brewing at home in 1999 and has since become a qualified brewer, responsible for bringing all 9 White Deer products from concept through to recipe design, formulating the process and brewing the final product.
“We regularly get the certificates back with less than 5ppm,” he says.
9 White Deer launched its first gluten-free product, Saor, in 2015 and received a bronze medal in the 2016 Blás na hEireann awards following a blind taste-testing where the judges didn’t know it was a gluten-free product.
The name 9 White Deer comes from a 6th Century fable in which one of Ireland’s most famous saints, St Gobnait, was told by an angel that she would set up an Abbey and a church on a site where she would come across 9 White Deer. That site is just one kilometre away from the 9 White Deer brewery which now employs eight people.
For the a chance to meet the founders and sample the new Stag Saor gluten-free range, drop in to Matsons, Cooneys Lane, Grange, Douglas, County Cork today, Friday 3rd March, between 12 noon and 8pm.
Stag Saor is available nationwide from Classic Drinks and also in Dublin from CBG Wholesale. For a full list of stockists visit www.9whitedeer.ie.
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