Beoir welcomes the news today that the Labour party are to introduce a Bill aimed at boosting craft-beer tourism in Ireland by removing the major regulatory barrier for breweries, microbreweries, cider makers and distilleries.
The Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016 would allow these businesses to sell their own produce to tourists and other visitors on site. Currently, a brewery manufacturer’s licence only allows them to see in excess of about 19 litres which is too much for the average consumer.
Beoir has been campaigning for this measure for a number of years, most recently in our pre-budget submission. This will open up a new level of consumer choice and really help our tourism sector. Brewery and distillery tourism is on the rise all around the world and we see especially potential for tourism in the cider producer sector. This will be a great boost to rural Ireland which is where most cider producers are located.
We are happy to work with breweries, cider producers, and government if we can help in any way from a consumer standpoint.
The 2015 Dublin Craft Beer Cup was awarded to Coisbo Beer of Denmark for the second year in a row, this time for an imperial Russian stout aged in sherry barrels.
It appears the competition might have been fiercer and the judging more stringent this year. In previous years, it seemed that almost everyone got medals. Not this year, those qualifying for at least a bronze medal were few and far between compared to last year. sure, we got more than last year but we have a lot more breweries and they had a lot more beer to enter than last year so to have over 30 Irish winners among so many world class entries is something we can be proud of.
This year, we had two Irish breweries take home a gold medal. Congratulations to Carlow Brewing for their barrel aged Lean Folláin and also to Manor Brewing for their Mont Irish Mountain Lager.
Like last year, I've taken all of the Irish medal winners from the list and I'm listing them off here. A big congratulations to all of the medal winners. I think you can be even more proud when you consider how many beers didn't get medals this year.
We also had Cider added to the competition this year.
On June the 27th, Dublin will host the 4th European Beer Bloggers Conference. As many of you know, I have attended all three so far and was successful in my attempt to bring it to Ireland to showcase Ireland's growing beer scene. This will be the first time the conference has left the UK but we expect a strong attendance due to Dublin being a short and cheap flight away and also the novelty of visiting another European city. You would be surprised by the number of beer writers who have never been to Ireland.
The great news here is that Ireland will have about 100 beer writers from around the word writing and tweeting about Irish beer, Irish pubs and Irish food. Some are beer bloggers like myself, others are journalists and some are full time beer writers who make their living writing about beer. The potential impact is somewhat staggering. I get about 13,000 readers every month. Multiply that by 100 and the number becomes quite impressive. This to an international audience, not just Europe, we often get some people over from the US and beyond. I would hope that this will help set Ireland up as a beer destination and increase tourism. Beer tourism is a real thing and Ireland could do with a piece of the action. We already get beer tourism in the form of people visiting Guinness and the like so let's showcase our independent micro breweries to the world.
The conference is now open for registration and costs €95 but the first 60 citizen bloggers (people like me) who sign up and show up will get a stipend from Molson Coors, our elite sponsor which makes the conference free. Even if you miss the boat on the free part, what you get for the €95 is well worth the money.
If you're a beer blogger, I encourage you to sign up now. If you are thinking about starting a beer related blog, now is the time to start and when the conference comes along you will learn a lot and have a fantastic weekend at the same time.
The world’s longest lasting piece of consumer legislation, the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot, which aims to protect the purity of beer recipes, celebrated its 500th anniversary on Saturday, 23rd of April 2016.
The European Beer Consumer Union (EBCU), which speaks for beer consumer groups across Europe, hailed it a major contribution to the concept of protecting beer consumers by setting brewers some basic standards since 1516.
However, EBCU also sounds a note of caution for its future relevance.
“The strict rule that excludes the use of sugar, syrup, starch, maize and rice in beer brewing is still relevant to brewing classic German beer styles like Helles, Münchner, Märzen, Kölsch, Altbier and others” said EBCU Chair Henri Reuchlin, adding, “but the restrictions on the use of alternative ingredients is getting in the way of the German brewers developing their own take on beers from other European brewing traditions. It also has the potential to interfere with the revival of some older, local German beer styles, which is not so helpful.”
EBCU believes that a modern equivalent of the Reinheitsgebot would impose improved standards of beer labelling, by insisting that beer labels in the EU should all list ingredients and state which brewery company made the beer.
The Reinheitsgebot was originally known as the “Surrogate Prohibition”.
It was introduced in 1516 by the then Dukes of Bavaria, Wilhem IV and Ludwig X, as a way of dealing with a price war that had developed between brewers and bakers over the purchase of wheat. It also allowed them to address longer standing concerns that brewers were polluting beers with herbs, root vegetables, fungi and animal products.
It was brought in on St George’s day (23rd April) as this marked the end of the traditional brewing season in much of central Europe, which begins on St Michael’s day (29th September). Before affordable large-scale refrigeration was brought in around 1865, the summer months were deemed too hot for beer to ferment safely.
At that time there were two basic types of beer. Brown beer was made with malted barley and white beer contained a large amount of wheat. The original diktat effectively outlawed the lighter, more summery wheat beer, stipulating that beer could only be made from barley, hops, and water. Yeast was not mentioned, as its nature was not yet understood.
However, the ban on wheat was soon withdrawn in favour of a heavy tax on its use in brewing. This was replaced in 1602 by a licensing system introduced the Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian Wittelsbach, though he faced much criticism when all the licenses were bought by members of his family, who held an effective monopoly for the next two centuries.
As the German states came together under Bismarck, many adopted this Bavarian standard, in doing so outlawing numerous historic local beer styles that used outlawed ingredients such as salt, spices or herbs.
The universal adoption of the Reinheitsgebot in 1919, was made a condition of Bavaria accepting its amalgamationinto the new Germany.
The Reinheitsgebot was formally withdrawn in 1988 after the European Union declared it a restraint of free trade, although many German breweries abide by its tenets to the present day, as do most brewers in Austria and many in the Czech Republic. To this day it is accepted as the gold standard, by craft brewers in many parts of the world, especially when making pale lagers.
Industrial lagers, including many of the world’s best known brands, substitute sugar, syrup, starch, maize or rice for malted barley, reducing the amount of background grain flavours featuring in the beer and accounting in part for their relative lack of flavour. These may be and sometimes are substituted for up to a third of the grain bill (the fermentable sugars).
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