Brody Rossiter takes an in-depth look at the rocky history of the Irish beer landscape and reveals how there’s far more to Irish beer than a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day…
Modern Irish Beer
Though the colours of Diageo’s Guinness may well still adorn the fronts of public houses throughout the land, independent craft beer producers are making themselves heard through the production of characterful and quality-driven beers that are proving serious contenders to the once insurmountable stout.
Since 2012, Republic of Ireland based microbreweries have more than trebled in number – highlighting the public’s newfound thirst for small batch beer and vast possibilities for growth. However, this isn’t the first time that a more under the radar approach to brewing made a play for mainstream attention.
The early days of Ireland’s independent brewing scene will still linger in the minds of those who were there to experience its troubled beginnings. Naivety and a lack of experience on the part of smaller breweries established throughout the 1980s, led to a multitude of issues that would eventually submerge their artisan approach to brewing beneath a wave of the black stuff and mass-produced straw-coloured fizz. The bigger brands encouraged publicans to remove craft brews, and often those who did stock their bars with unconventional new tipples took a less than urgent approach to paying their bills – leading to the downfall of many brewers.
As Irish craft once again faces competition from those wanting to take advantage of its resurgence, projects such as “Downstream” are ensuring that the providence of truly independent Irish beer is safeguarded and transparent, ensuring consumers are given the necessary information about the beer they choose to drink and producers they choose to support in the process. Independent Irish beer continues to grow and evolve by the day; a fact exhibited by the breweries that walked away with awards at our Independent Beer Awards and the exciting prospects on the horizon. We’re passionate about Irish beer, and you should be too!