This article was written by American Beer Writer George Lenker aka Beernut and originally appeared in 'The Republican' newspaper, Massachusetts. Keep an eye out for Business & Finance Magazine which will shortly feature his article on Irish Craft Brewing. You can view other articles by George at [site now defunct - Ed, Feb. '08].

Craft brewing was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of company assets showed industrial machinery and chemical apparatus far beyond what any craft brewery would reasonably possess. Groogan compiled it and Groogan's name was known and respected wherever large scale brewers met and discussed their trade.

Groogan knew it was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Alphonsus Groogan was Chief Operations Officer at Gargle's brewery, and had been even before it became a subsidiary of the Globooze conglomerate. Under his old title of Brewmaster, Groogan had overseen the throwing out of the unreliable old mash tuns and open fermentation tanks; he had supervised the installation of the new, fully-automated, continuous fermentation processes which made Gargle's a world leader in industrially-produced beer. Yes, there was no question but that Groogan knew craft brewing at Gargle's was as dead as the beer in a can of Gargle's Extra Stout.

LogoGalway Hooker is one of Ireland's newest craft beers, having only been on the market since the summer of 2006. It's a style that hasn't really featured on draught in Ireland before, a flavour packed hoppy pale ale.

I recently visited Hooker brewery and had a chat with brewer Aidan Murphy.

Boyne Brewhouse

They don't go in for half measures at the Boyne Brewhouse. The 30hL Kaspar Shulz brewkit was commissioned last October and occupies just one part of the large facility based in a former car showroom by the M1 just outside Drogheda. When a Beoir delegation visited yesterday things were very much a work in progress, with extra fermenters due to come on-stream shortly, a bottling and canning line going through final checks before commissioning, the copper stills of the Boann Distillery awaiting their turn to be hooked up, and a gin still still in bubblewrap in its crate. When the facility is complete it will incorporate a visitors' centre and restaurant as well as a vast warehouse for maturing the whiskey.

The whole lot is owned by the Cooney family and trades under an independent umbrella company which uses the Irish form of the family name: Na Cuana. Pat Cooney bought the Gleeson bottling company in the 1970s and built it into one of the largest drinks firms in Ireland, producing, importing and distributing wine, soft drinks, cider and liqueurs. There was also a brief foray into beer with Behan's Brew No. 1 lager in the early 2000s. Then in 2012, Gleeson's was acquired by C&C, though the cider and cream liqueur arms have remained with the family and are still produced in separate facilities in Tipperary. Now the company has passed to the second generation of Cooneys, adding spirits and beer to the portfolio and expanding the cider range from budget brand Devils Bit to include a mainstream Bulmers competitor as well as a craft brand, Four Keepers, all of them produced from cider apples grown in the family's own orchard. After the sale of Gleeson's to C&C, there was money available. A distillery and brewery was the end result.

Boyne Brewhouse

Production in Drogheda is headed by brewer and distiller Áine O'Hora who came to the company via Matilda Bay Brewery in Melbourne. Initial plans are for three core beers: Born in a Day pale ale which is already in pubs; Long Arm, a 100% Saaz Dortmunder-style export lager; and Pagan's Pillar, a traditional Irish red given a German twist with Mandarina Bavaria hops. All are 4.8% ABV and will be sold kegged and in the brewery's distinctive custom-embossed bottles. Specials and seasonals will follow in due course and the state of the art packaging facility behind the brewhouse allows for large-format bottles. Canned beer is also being planned. Though the bottles are pasteurised, a 26-metre-long tunnel pasteuriser allows a light touch, with the beer never going over 60°C. In keeping with a philosophy to use local ingredients where possible, malt is supplied by Loughran Family, topped up by speciality varieties from Weyermann.

Boyne Brewhouse

Unusually for a start-up brewery, there's almost no room for expansion. The company has opted to go straight for the largest size possible -- capable of producing 35,000 hL of beer per year though the intention is to remain under the limit for the microbrewers' lower rate of duty.

The potential of the brewery and its suite of sister products is enormous. Na Cuana is set to become a major player in Irish beer and cider in the months to come as well as being a major tourist draw for Drogheda.

Many thanks to the Cooney family and Áine for their hospitality during our visit.

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This table has been created as an at-a-glance guide to the various beers and ciders produced by companies based in Ireland. A tick denotes that this brand's products qualify as Irish Craft Beer or Cider, that is: produced on the island of Ireland by an Irish company which makes less than 40,000hL per year.

Last update: 11th May 2022

Irish Craft?



Also Known As


YES 12 Acres Microbrewery    
  5 Lamps Microbrewery   Owned by C&C.
YES 59 South Contract brand   Brewed at Select Batch.
YES 5th Quarter Contract Brand   Brewed at Hilden.
YES 9 White Deer Microbrewery    
YES Achill Island Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Ards Microbrewery    
YES Armagh Brewing Microbrewery    
YES Armagh Cider Artisan Cider Maker Carsons, Maddens, Mollys  
YES Arthurstown Microbrewery Dunbrody, King's Bay, Hook No longer in business.
YES Apple Farm Artisan Cider Maker Con's  
YES Ballykilcavan Microbrewery    
YES Baronscourt Microbrewery    
YES Barrahooley Microbrewery    
YES Barrelhead Contract Brand   Brewed at JW Sweetman.
  Bartleys Contract Brand   Brewed at Station Works.
YES Beaky Dargus Microbrewery    
YES BeerHut Microbrewery    
YES Bell's Microbrewery The Deer's Head   
YES Benwiskin Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Beoir Chorca Duibhne Microbrewery West Kerry  
YES Big Hand Contract Brand   No longer in business. Formerly brewed at Trouble.
YES Black Donkey Microbrewery    
YES Black Mountain Microbrewery    
YES Black's Microbrewery    
YES Blockburger Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Bo Bristle Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Boghopper Microbrewery Inishowen No longer in business.
  Bohemian Craft Ale Contract brand   Brewed at Five Lamps.
YES Boundary Microbrewery    
YES Boyne Valley Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Brehon Microbrewery    
YES Brennan's Contract Brand   Brewed at Porterhouse.
  BrewDog Outpost Dublin Microbrewery    
YES Brewtonic Contract Brand   Brewed at Rascals.
YES Bridewell Microbrewery    
  Brown Bear Contract brand   Brewed at Station Works.
YES Brú Microbrewery Carrig  
YES Bullhouse Microbrewery    
YES Burren Microbrewery Curtin's, The Roadside Tavern  
  C&C Multinational Bulmers, Magners, Dowd's Lane, Clonmel 1650, Roundstone, Tipperary Brewing, Pana Cork Lager, Five Lamps  
YES Canvas Microbrewery    
YES Carlingford Microbrewery    
YES Carlow Microbrewery O'Hara's, Falling Apple, Craigie's, Devil's Bit, Cooney's 32% owned by Hijos de Rivera.
YES Catch-22 Contract brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Christy's Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Clanconnel Contract Brand McGrath's Brewed at Whitewater.
YES Clean Slate Contract Brand   Brewed at Ballykilcavan.
YES Clonakilty Microbrewery    
YES Cloughmore Contract Brand   Brewed at Whitewater.
YES Cider Mill Artisan Cider Maker Cockagee  
YES Clear Sky Contract Brand   Brewed at Hilden.
YES Connemara Contract Brand Connacht Brewed at Reel Deel.
YES Connemara Brewery Microbrewery    
YES Corrib Microbrewery Wild Bat  No longer in business.
YES Costello's Microbrewery    
YES Cotton Ball Microbrewery    
YES Crafty Bear Contract Brand   Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Crew Microbrewery    
YES Dan Kelly's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Dead Centre Contract brand   Brewed at St. Mel's. Some small batch beers brewed in the taproom.
  Desmond Contract brand   Brewed in Spain.
YES Dew Drop Microbrewery    
  Diageo Multinational Guinness, Smithwick's, Harp, Macardles, Rockshore  
YES Dick Mack's Microbrewery    
  Dingle Contract brand Tom Crean's  
YES Donegal Microbrewery    
YES Dooliner Contract Brand   Brewed at Carlow.
YES Dopey Dick Contract Brand   Brewed at Hillstown.
YES Dot Contract Brand   Brewed at various Irish microbreweries.
YES Dovehill Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Downstream Contract brand   Brewed at Whitewater.
YES Drew Fox Microbrewery Clever Man No longer in business.
YES Dublin Brewer Contract brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Dublin City Brewing Microbrewery Formerly Dublin Beer Factory  
YES Dundalk Bay Microbrewery Brewmaster  
YES Dungarvan Microbrewery    
  Eight Degrees Microbrewery   Owned by Pernod Ricard.
YES Elbow Lane Microbrewery    
YES Evans' Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Falling Apple Contract Brand   Owned by Carlow Brewing.
YES Farmageddon Microbrewery    
YES Fat Walrus Contract brand   Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Finn Valley Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES The Format Contract brand   Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Four Provinces Microbrewery    
  Franciscan Well Microbrewery   Owned by Molson Coors.
YES Galway Bay Microbrewery    
YES Galway Hooker Microbrewery    
YES Glens of Antrim Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Gogarty's Contract brand   Brewed at Carlow.
YES Great Island Contract Brand   Brewed at Select Batch.
  Hardy Bucks Contract Brand   Brewed at C&C.
YES Hawthorne Tales Contract Brand   Brewed at Cotton Ball.
YES Heaney Microbrewery    
YES Heartland Microbrewery   No longer in business.
  Heineken Multinational Murphy's, Beamish, Cute Hoor, Kettle Brew, Island's Edge  
YES Hercules Microbrewery Yardsman  
YES Highbank Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Hilden Microbrewery    
YES Hope Microbrewery    
YES Hopfully Microbrewery    
YES Hyland Contract Brand Celtic Warrior Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Independent Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Inishmacsaint Microbrewery Fermanagh Beer Company  
YES Irishtown Contract Brand Dublin Blonde Brewed at Hope.
YES Jack Cody's Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Jack Doyle's Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Jack Smyth's Microbrewery    
YES JJ's Microbrewery    
YES Johnny Fall Down Artisan Cider Maker Killahora Orchards  
YES Jumping Church Microbrewery    
YES JW Sweetman Microbrewery    
YES Kelly's Mountain Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Kerry Contract Brand Gnéas Brewed at Rascals.
YES Kildare Microbrewery    
YES Killarney Microbrewery    
YES Kilmegan Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Kinnegar Microbrewery    
YES Knockout Microbrewery    
YES Lacada Microbrewery    
YES Land & Labour Contract Brand   Brewed at Galway Bay.
YES Larkin's Microbrewery Dublin Lager Brewery  
YES Last Port Contract Brand   Brewed at Cotton Ball.
YES Lecale Microbrewery    
YES Limerick City Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Lineman Microbrewery    
YES Little Island Contract Brand Kenmare Beer brewed at Brú. Cider made at Armagh Cider.
YES Llewellyn's Orchard Artisan Cider Maker Double LL  
YES Long Meadow Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Longueville House Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Loopland Contract Brand   Brewed at Knockout
YES Loudons Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Lough Gill Microbrewery Onward  
YES Mac's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES MacIvor's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES McGill's Microbrewery    
YES Mad Culchie Contract Brand   Brewed at JJ's.
YES Magic Hill Microbrewery    
YES Manor Contract Brand Mont Formerly brewed at Boyne Brewhouse. No longer in business.
YES Marks & Spencer Contract Brand   Irish Stout brewed at Carlow.
YES MashDown Microbrewery    
YES McCrackens Microbrewery    
YES Mescan Microbrewery    
YES Metalman Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Midlands Beer Collective Contract Brand   Brewed at Hope.
YES Monck House Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Mountain Man Contract Brand   Brewed at Cotton Ball.
YES Mourne Mountains Microbrewery    
YES Mourne Seafood Contract Brand   Brewed at Whitewater.
YES Munster Microbrewery   No longer in business. 
YES N17 Contract Brand   Brewed at Reel Deel.
  Night Cap Contract Brand Gallopers Brewed in England.
YES Norn Iron Microbrewery    
YES Northbound Microbrewery    
YES O Brother Microbrewery    
YES Ó Cléirigh Microbrewery   No longer in business. 
YES O'Connor Microbrewery   No longer in business. 
YES O'Shea's Contract Brand   Brewed at Carlow.
YES Old Mill Microbrewery   No longer in business.
  Orchard Thieves Contract Brand   Made by Heineken.
  Orpens Contract Brand   Made at C&C.
YES Otterbank Microbrewery    
YES Our Brewery Microbrewery   Formerly Hillstown. 
  Outer place Contract Brand   Brewed at various breweries, in Ireland and abroad.
YES Persistence Contract Brand   Brewed at JJ's.
YES Pikeman Microbrewery Slieve Bloom Brewery   
YES Pitt Bros Contract Brand   Beer brewed at Brú, Cider made at Armagh.
YES Pokertree Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Porterhouse Microbrewery    
YES Priory Microbrewery    
YES Rascals Microbrewery    
YES Raven Microbrewery The Old Schoolhouse No longer in business as a brewery. 
YES Red Hand Microbrewery The Brewer's House No longer in business as a brewery. 
YES Reel Deel Microbrewery    
YES Rising Sons Microbrewery    
YES River Shannon Contract brand. Brewed at Ballykilcavan.  
YES Rough Brothers Microbrewery    
YES Rye River Microbrewery McGargle's, Solas, Colgan's, Crafty, Grafters  
YES Sailortown Contract Brand   Brewed at Carrig.
YES Samuels Contract Brand   Brewed at Knockout.
YES Scott's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Select Batch Microbrewery BYOB Ventures, Postcard, formerly Dundalk Heritage Brewery and Craftworks Mainly produces contract beers. Own range sold under the Postcard brand.
YES Sheelin Microbrewery    
YES Sheridan's Microbrewery Walsh's No longer in business as a brewery. 
YES Soulwater Contract Brand   Brewed at JJ's.
YES Spiddal River Contract Brand Bogman Brewed at Trouble
YES St. Mel's Microbrewery    
  Station Works Microbrewery Cumberland Breweries Owned by Alltech
YES Stonewell Artisan Cider Maker Finnbarra  
YES Sullivan's Contract Brand   Brewed at Dundalk Bay. Some small batch beers brewed in the taproom.
YES Taylored Ales Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Tempted Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Third Barrel Microbrewery Third Circle, Stone Barrel  
YES Thompsons Microbrewery   Owned by Cotton Ball. 
YES Toby's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Torc Microbrewery    
YES Treaty City Microbrewery Conradh  
YES Trouble Microbrewery    
YES Twisted Kettle Microbrewery    
YES Two Sides Contract brand   Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Two Sisters Contract Brand Brigid's Ale Brewed at Trouble.
YES UCC Pilot Microbrewery    
YES Urban Microbrewery   Co-owned by Carlow Brewing.
YES Walled City Microbrewery    
YES West Cork Microbrewery    
YES West Mayo Microbrewery   No longer in business.
YES Western Herd Microbrewery    
  Wexford 1798 Contract brand   Brewed in the Netherlands.
YES Whiplash Microbrewery    
YES White Hag Microbrewery    
YES Whitefield Microbrewery  White Gypsy  
YES Whitewater Microbrewery   25% owned by C&C.
YES Wicklow Microbrewery    
YES Wicklow Wolf Microbrewery    
YES Wide Street Microbrewery    
YES Wood Key Contract brand   Brewed at Third Barrel. No longer in business.
YES YellowBelly Contract brand    Brewed at Dundalk Bay.