Oliver Hughes – an appreciation

Oliver Hughes, often referred to as the “Godfather of Craft Beer in Ireland”, passed away on Sunday 31st July 2016.

Oliver was the co-founder and director of the Porterhouse Group. An entrepreneur who pushed the boundaries wherever he could, he was not content with helping to start the craft beer revolution in Ireland; he went on to create Ireland’s first purpose-built distillery in over 200 years.

Oliver’s mind never stopped turning, whether it was thinking of how to improve his own ventures or how to help others. His ideas are ingrained in the mind of the Porterhouse and his concepts for growth in the Porterhouse Group have been put in place, mainly due to his boundless energy and dreaming.

Oliver and Liam LaHart’s original “mad” idea was Harty’s brewery in Blessington, Co Wicklow, in the 1980s. This attempt at a micro-brewery in Ireland was followed in 1989 by the setting up of The Porterhouse in Bray which pushed craft beer onto the Bray locality.

Following that in 1996, we saw the Porterhouse Temple Bar begin trading. This was only the beginning of the adventure for cousins Hughes and LaHart. They soon opened up Porterhouse Covent Garden in London, the Porterhouse North (recently converted to The Whitworth), the Porterhouse Central and the Porterhouse at Fraunces’ Tavern in New York while the group also expanded to The Port House chain of tapas restaurants.

Oliver’s most recent treasure was the Dingle Whiskey Distillery. His idea was once again ahead of the curve. Oliver only saw one cask ever released, Cask No 2, on 19th December 2016. He was extremely proud of the Dingle Distillery and he knew the future was bright.

Oliver’s ideas, influence and energy can be seen in everything the Porterhouse group has done and will do going forward.

He will be missed.

— EH

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