Saturday, June 28

Beer & Blogging in Dublin



Ireland: Are we paying too much for craft beer? Should aluminum cans replace bottles? Could microbrewers do more to create local employment? These were just some of the ideas canvassed on the first day of the Beer Bloggers Conference in Dublin. About 120 brewers, marketers and citizen bloggers (mostly from the US, UK and Europe) flew into the Irish capital for the two-day event which is being hosted by the Independent Brewers of Ireland, with generous support by Molson Coors and Guinness. Apart from drinking fantastic craft beers, including Galway Hooker and Rye Beer from N17, we’ve been given an overview of the independent Irish scene which is still tiny (less than 1 per cent of the total beer market in Ireland) – one presenter reckons this country is at least 10 years behind the United States. Estimates vary but there are roughly 50 craft breweries in Ireland (both Southern and Northern Ireland), with at least another 12 about to come on stream. Despite their proximity to the UK and Europe most Irish brewers here say they do not have the capacity to export their wares. Aussie brewers will be pleased to know that their Irish counterparts share most of the same concerns: punitive government excise, small profit margins, unfair competition from the big players, lack of retail outlets and indifference from publicans about serving craft beer. A big thanks to the guys at McLaren Beer Company which has sponsored my trip to Ireland and to The Marker Hotel for providing luxurious accommodation in the ritzy Docklands area of this great, great city. Happy days!

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