Lew Bryson has a good article on Irish beer in this month’s Massachusetts Beverage Business magazine this month. It’s an interesting correlation because in it he interviews Seamus O’Hara, of Carlow Brewery, the brewer of the same O’Hara’s Stout that the Beer Nut reviewed today. (And which I pointed to.)
It’s a good article, too; on the expansion of the Irish beer movement.
We were drinking that stout, his stout, O’Hara’s Stout. It is part of a new face on Irish beers. Carlow is essentially a microbrewery, operating in Ireland, making craft-type beer: a bit bigger, a bit bolder than mainstream Guinness Stout and Smithwick’s. Brewers as far apart as Anheuser-Busch and Boston Beer are getting into the Irish beer market, a trend that is both good and bad for the established Irish brands: good, because it means they see strength and opportunity for bigger sales there; bad, because it means more competition in what had been a safe market.
The Irish brands have had it all their own way for a long time. I remember David Geary of Portland, Maine’s D.L. Geary Brewing, telling me why he chose to brew a porter instead of a stout. The history of craft brewing, he said, was littered with dead brands that tried to go up against Guinness.
Put that all together, and it means a growing, broader Irish category. It may mean more competition for the established brands, but it ultimately means more choices for you and your customers.
Worth the read, and I’m quite certain much more in-depth than anything I’ll come up with this week.