"Give me one year" asks Shane Long, co-founder of The Franciscan Well. As the news officially broke last week regarding the Molson Coors buyout of the Well, speculation and opinion has been rife regarding what this means not only for the Well but also for Irish Craft Brewing.
Shane has been in the business longer than most. "It"s been 14 years" he says "I still remember the early days, sleeping in the back of my van before doing the deliveries up in Dublin or on floors of friends apartments." And Shane is deeply passionate about beer as anyone who knows him would agree. So why the sale to Molson Coors? "I needed to expand and I couldn't do it alone. I had demand for our beers that I couldn't fulfill."
Shane's need to expand came earlier in the year when he was given a very viable opportunity to increase his sales by exporting to America. "They [the new customer] came here last March because of the awards we had won and once they tasted the beer they brought me to New York to arrange an import agreement."
For the second year in a row, Eight Degrees has a dark spiced beer called A Winter's Ale. This is 7.5% ABV and available bottled and on draught. The spices are a special blend provided by the Green Saffron spicery.
Also in its second year is Dungarvan Brewing Company's Coffee and Oatmeal Stout, this year showing off the brewery's new label design. Flahavan's has provided the oatmeal, and the coffee comes courtesy of Badger & Dodo roastery. It's 4.7% ABV and available in bottle and cask.
From Franciscan Well comes a very special Stout Aged in Jameson Whiskey Barrels. This is 7.8% ABV and available only in 1 litre bottles, though is expected to make an appearance on cask at the Franciscan Well Cask and Winter Ales Festival (15-17 February). The edition is limited to just 900 numbered bottles.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without White Gypsy's Yule Ól making an appearance. This dark red ale is unspiced but shows lots of warming depth. 6% ABV and available bottled.
Exclusively on draught there's Carlow Brewing Company's Winter Star. In place of the more typical Christmas spices, this 5% ABV ruby ale has coconut and orange peel added for a completely unique flavour profile.
Finally, Whitewater Brewery has launched its Christmas seasonal Sanity Claus in bottles this year, for the first time. This is 4.5% ABV and brewed with a small addition of cinnamon and nutmeg to add a little festive spirit.
All are available wherever good beer is sold in Ireland. Be warned, however, that stocks are strictly limited and supplies of some may be running short already.
Ahead of Budget 2013, Beoir has made a submission to the Department of Finance requesting a re-think on the minimum pricing issue.
As an organisation, Beoir stands behind any genuine effort to tackle problem-drinking in Ireland. However, Beoir does not back the current proposal to introduce minimum pricing as it has already been historically proven not to work and it only serves to divert efforts away from tackling the issue in a real and proactive manner.
The full text of the pre-budget submission can be found here.
The team behind award-winning Dublin pubs L. Mulligan. Grocer and W.J. Kavanagh's have recently created their own beer brand. Titled The Brown Paper Bag Project, the emphasis will be on innovation and experimentation, covering a wide range of beer styles, methods and ingredients and brewed at a variety of different breweries.
The first in the series was launched at W.J. Kavanagh's on 24th November and is a dark Belgian style ale utilising a single variety of hop called Dr. Rudi, from New Zealand, which also gives the beer its name. Brewed at the Eight Degrees brewery in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, Dr. Rudi is 7.4% ABV and available on draught in Mulligan's and Kavanagh's, as well as in 33cl bottles.
The Brown Paper Bag Project website is currently under construction here, and the Project is also on Twitter.