I've spoken to Reuben and he's invited me to use the forum to tackle an issue that has arisen today which has left us bemused and a bit hurt.
Normally we'd let it slide but I've asked that I be allowed deal with this instead of the ever-diplomatic Niall and Alan in cases like this.
We're hoping that whoever is responsible for the following is on the forum and sees this and it is in now way an attack on the Beoir members who support us and our beer. The message reads below.
To the person with a sticker machine -
There’s an issue here that needs to be addressed. There’s a mixture of consumers who love us for what our brewery does with session beer like McGargles and there’s a contingent who vehemently dislike us. That’s fine. Some people like the branding, some people hate it. Some people like the beers, some people hate it. This is something every brewery in the world deals with and brewers rarely get involved, but in Ireland for some reason we’ve spotted something sinister that I want to talk publicly about.
Alan, our secretary and all around operations manager popped over for one of his many visits per day into the brewery while we were kegging. He was a bit hurt, a bit angry, and a bit bemused. A shop manager in Waterford sent him this picture –
So what’s this about? I’m honestly bemused. If you don’t like a beer, don’t fucking drink it. What on earth gives this person the motivation to go to the effort of getting this printed, going down to the shops and putting this on a basket that I packed by hand and sent out into the world?
In the early days there was a huge amount of backlash against the brand before I came on board. There was speculation about whether the brewery was some kind of ‘astroturf’ brand set up by a multinational. It wasn’t true. The guys setting it up left their jobs in corporate to set up an independent brewery. The same story as so many other Irish craft breweries.
There was backlash about the beer being brewed abroad. It was while they were waiting on the brewery that they’d already signed for. That brewery happened to be the first high specification, steam jacketed, semi automated, scale-able brewery to built in the country for the last hundred years. This would also be produced in Dundalk, an area that had just been devastated by a brewery closure by Diageo. The project would allow the manufacturer Spectac to prove their quality and an Irish company a start to be an international player at brewery fabrications. They’ve since done the Teelings distillery in Dublin and fermenters for many other Irish craft breweries like Metalman, Galway Bay and there’s more on the way. Tony Healy and his team are expanding now, moving to a bigger plant and employing more in Dundalk to fabricate brewery equipment now. The few batches brewed in the UK (and we’re talking about 2 here) kept cash flowing while we commissioned the brewery, and an Irish company and an Irish town is better off for it. Anyone still pointing to this needs to get real. They need to be applauded for this.
There was a sloppy article in the Irish Independent a while back that said we brew Bavaria and make 7,000,000L of beer a year at the moment. Anyone who thinks we have the capacity to brew Bavaria in Ireland, for Ireland needs to stick to the wine or educate themselves on volumes again.
We proudly distribute Bavaria and San Miguel, both family owned companies and not PLC’s btw, for Ireland. Bavaria also proudly distribute De Molen and Le Trappe in the Netherlands too. It works both ways. This year if we’re lucky we might do 20,000HL’s. About the same amount as O’Hara’s. And that’s made up mostly of McGargles, then after that Grafters, then Solas, then the Crafty Brewing Company. We sincerely hope too that a consumer that tried their first craft beer through these supermarkets will never go back to industrial beers and then try everything all our friends out there in Kelly’s, Galway Bay, White Hag, Yellowbelly, Boundary, Brown Paper Bag, White Gypsy and the other 40+ great brewers here are making. And that this will be better for everyone.
And that brings me finally to us, the brewers.
Whoever made this sticker has insulted every brewer in this plant. We work 60-70 hour weeks, frequently, not because it’s expected of us, but because we live this stuff. Every extra hour is spent working on sourcing better hops, malt and even propagating our own yeast on site.
I’d like the person who done this to know that they’ve properly pissed off 7 talented homebrewers and me - as an effort to hurt the livelihood of people who learned their craft over years in their kitchens out of crippling obsession and passion, and it is the most lousy thing I can think of. Honestly pal, you’re up there with Dick Cheney or one of those pricks in my books, and that’s exceptional. They probably didn’t even know that everyone here has to have homebrewing experience for consideration to work in the plant. That’s my rule. So I want to introduce whoever did this to just our shift brewers here that they’re having a go at.
Owen Ashmore is a capital brewers member, National Homebrew Award winner and ex mechanical engineer who went pro. He made that banging Saison at Alltech and Grafters IPA. The beer that’s out there has his name on it, because he brewed it. He scaled it up from his burco boiler kit from his kitchen. He’s also the glue that holds this place together, and he’s a legend.
Conor Muldowney is a quiet homebrewer who went pro, getting an assistant role at Dingle Brewing Company and then heading off to work for Brewdog working their fermenters and dry hopping - before coming back here and applying for an assistant brewer role with us. Conor was so good as an assistant brewer that he was promoted in only two days to shift brewer, only when we spotted how talented he was and how modest was his application. His name is on Grafters Pale Ale, because he brewed it. He’s also a legend.
Daniel Cesari is a Venezuelan heartthrob who cut his teeth setting up and running his own nano brewery in Caracas. Reckon it’s easy to get materials and equipment in Caracas? This guy is a nutter who’d run around what’s now one of the most violent cities in the world stealing water-cooler bottles, drilling holes in stock-pots and beg, borrowing and stealing anything that resembled good yeast, hops and malt in a city with more problems than you can shake a stick at. He was a pioneer who loves beer and was one of the only people doing it in a beer culture that didn’t even exist there, and his beer in Caracas? An Irish Red Ale. He now brews Granny Mary’s on an Irish-made, 5 vessel, steam jacketed kit and people drink his beers in pubs in New York, Chicago, Florida, Denmark and bottles in Sweden, France, the UK about 10 other nations and counting.
I could go on about Damien, Bill, Preet, Daragh, Sean and Ian for another few pages but I won’t. The point is these are my lads and real people you’re attacking with faceless digs like this over something as subjective as taste in beer or branding. And I’ve one place in mind for where you can put the rest of those fucking stickers pal.
Rye River Brewing Company.