The traditionally quiet New Year period was not so for the beer fanatics of Beoir. Circumstances led to two brewery visits being arranged for consecutive Saturdays in January, making for early starts, long days and in one case, actual hard work.
Following the success of Beoir#1, the double IPA brewed at Black's of Kinsale last year, the brewing members were keen to have another go at commissioning a commercial beer. So when Trouble Brewing offered to host Beoir#2 they leapt at the chance. This time Reuben put the recipe together and a little after 9am on 10th January the mash got under way.
With £100,000 raised in just eight days, this round of funding is now closed. Congratulations Boundary Brewing!
The recent Irish craft beer boom has seen no shortage of novel methods of raising the funds necessary to get a new brewery off the ground. Those of us with bottles of Beoir#1 DIPA will remember Black's of Kinsale's Indiegogo project, and a succession of breweries and cider makers have made use of LinkedFinance to crowd-source loans, most recently Eight Degrees. Belfast-based Boundary Brewing is taking a different approach again and has established itself as a co-op, fully owned and operated by its shareholders. And from 1st December 2014 the founders are offering you the chance to become part of the project.
£70,000 is the total amount the board is hoping to raise with the initial share offer. Shares in Boundary are not subject to speculation and cannot be traded; once purchased they can be held or sold back to the co-op after a minimum period of three years. At the three year point if the business is profitable the first dividends will be paid to investors, as well as interest on each investment.
There are two levels of membership available to investors: the minimum investment is £100 which makes you an "ordinary member" whereas an investment of £250 or above grants "supporter member" status. Members have a vote at the AGM and may run for election to the Board of Directors. Organisations may also be members of either rank, though still only have one vote in decisions.
In order to be successful, every brewery needs beer enthusiasts behind it, and Boundary certainly has that. Matthew Dick is well known on the Irish homebrewing scene as the founder of the Belfast Homebrew Club and was a driving force behind the Brewbot project. Co-founder Matt Scrimgeour is a co-operative enthusiast who believes there is lots more space for ethical, principled businesses that operate democratically and value people over profits.
Fundamentally, Boundary is not setting out to make safe mainstream beer for the lowest common denominator of drinker. The company will be taking inspiration from Belgium and the United States for its recipes, to make high quality, bold flavoured beers.
Boundary hopes to have raised the target £70,000 by Monday 5th January 2015, at which point the initial share offer will close.
On the 14th and 15th of November Beoir will host a meeting of the European Beer Consumers Union for the first time. 30 delegates from eleven different countries across Europe will gather in Dublin for two days of debate and discussion covering a number issues of relevance to beer drinkers.
Among the topics is the current status of European Union Directive 1169/2011 concerning the information which should be made available to consumers on beer packaging. The EBCU has long deemed the current situation unsatisfactory, as producers are not obliged to list the ingredients of beer, nor the place of production. Both of these elements are essential if the consumer is to make a truly informed choice about the beer they drink.
Beoir wholeheartedly supports the EBCU's campaign to have ingredients and place of production made mandatory on beer labels, and salutes those Irish craft breweries who already have this information visible on their products.
The EBCU was founded in 1990 by three beer consumer organisations: CAMRA (UK), PINT (Netherlands) and Zythos (Belgium). It has since grown to thirteen member groups with a combined membership of over 200,000 people. Beoir is the newest member of the group, joining in 2012. Two plenary meetings of the delegates are held every year.
The Dublin meeting will be the 50th since the EBCU's foundation and delegates will be visiting two of Dublin's independent breweries: The Porterhouse and JW Sweetman. Alfie Byrne's pub and L. Mulligan Grocer will also feature in the social programme for the weekend.
More information on the aims and work of the EBCU can be found on its website at www.ebcu.org.
My review of Iorwerth Griffiths's small 2007 volume, The Complete Guide to Beer and Cider in Ireland, expressed the hope that growth in Ireland's craft beer scene would mean the next edition would be more of a coffee table size. A successor has finally been published and while it's not a large-format work it does share much in common with the glossy, image-rich, lifestyle publishing genre.
That's not to say it's all fluff, however. Far from it. Caroline Hennessy and Kristen Jensen have meticulously researched the current state of the Irish beer and cider scene and drawn upon a wealth of sources, historical, zythological and gastronomical to create this compact and accessible guide.