Seen an Irish craft brewer lately? They’re reasonably easy to spot. Telltale signs would be a person rushing a pile of kegs into a pub, with malt still hanging off their jeans, looking very sleep deprived, but (oddly) with an optimistic cheer to them…yes, a weird sight.
That would be because the last few months for the Irish craft brewing community have been hectic. In Eight Degrees, we’re installing 2-4 new taps into pubs a week – half of which have no other craft beer available on draught. We are also lining up new bottle outlets at a similar rate. Not a big number for a big brewery, but huge numbers for a small brewery like ours.
Talking with our brothers and sister brewers, they’re all experiencing similar demands. Another brewery is reportedly getting swamped with calls that start off ‘Are you the crowd that do that craft beer?’. For us, enquiries from stockists really picked up from September 2011, but this article and several around it have kicked off a lot of interest from the pub trade. We are very mindful that we are also benefiting from many years of hard work by our fellow brewers, pioneering pubs and off licences and Beoir .
We’ve got a long way to go though. With Irish craft beer still occupying well less than 1% of beer sales in Ireland – we are well short of the legendary 5% share in the US – but we are quietly confident that we will collectively get there.