#CraftDrinksBill: An Open Letter

Eight Degrees Brewing - Cam and ScottLast week Alan Kelly, Labour spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, launched a Bill that proposes amending the law to allow breweries, distilleries and cider producers sell their products to visitors on their premises.

This will have significant implications for tourism throughout Ireland by removing a major regulatory barrier for breweries, microbreweries, cider makers and distilleries.

Like us, many of these producers are based in beautiful rural areas that tourists often bypass. We want to give them the opportunity to stop off in Mitchelstown, come to the brewery for a tour – then stay, eat and drink locally.

But none of this can happen unless our politicians know that we’re behind it!

This is the letter, drafted up by the ICBI, that we have sent to our local representatives.

Dear Pat Buckley, Kevin O’Keeffe, Seán Sherlock and David Stanton

Our names are Cam Wallace and Scott Baigent. We own and run a microbrewery in your constituency.

We are writing to you today about the Craft Beer Bill being proposed by Alan Kelly, Labour TD.

We would like you as our local representatives to throw your support behind this bill, for a number of reasons. Apart from the great boost to the local economy through increased revenue and tourism opportunities in Mitchelstown, the craft drinks industry will increase opportunities across right across the country.

As we all sadly know, the concentration of jobs and industry in Dublin has lead to fewer opportunities in our beautiful regional and rural areas of Ireland. At the same time, increasing population in the capital has led to a housing crisis and unaffordable rents as people migrate to the city from outside Dublin.

The beauty of the craft drinks industry in Ireland is that it is geographically spread right across the country; by developing industries like brewing, distilling and cider-making outside of the capital we will, in the long run, be increasing job opportunities all over Ireland.

The manufacturers themselves are already generating employment (craft breweries in Ireland employ almost 450 people directly) and there are knock-on effects to be seen in other industries – farming, as demand for raw material increases, and the hospitality and service industries where these fantastic beverages are making a big splash.

It seems like the craft beverage industry has often been left behind during initiatives to drive consumers to support Irish goods, perhaps because the government may be afraid they would be seen to be promoting irresponsible behaviour. The craft beverage sector is an industry that targets consumers based on quality, taking the emphasis away from quantity; as such, supporting our Irish drinks producers promotes a responsible drinking message.

I hope you will throw your full weight behind this bill and support Alan Kelly – and our craft drinks pioneers – in the proposal, and remove the legal anomaly that is stifling the growth of this amazing industry.

Many thanks,
Cam Wallace and Scott Baigent
Owners / Brewers
Eight Degrees Brewing
Mitchelstown
Co Cork

How you can help: please send your own copy of this letter to your local representative. You’ll find a list of TDs on oireachtas.ie

Find out more about the bill here: ‘HOPPORTUNITY’ TO GROW IRELAND’S CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY

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Eight Degrees Brewing, Unit 3, Coolnanave Industrial Park, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, Ireland. P67 RW84. Tel 025 84933

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