So basicly Beoir does nothing and will continue to do nothing to represent craft beer consumers in Ireland on any real level beyond simply existing and access to a few discounts and some GBB tokens for members?
I think it would be helpful to identify the pitfalls with the current arrangements first.
The issues, by my (incomplete) understanding, are:
1. 7pm closing time. Pretty useless Mon-Fri as people have jobs. Probably the biggest limitation, but was flagged in advance.
2. A taproom licence will extinguish all other licences on a premises. i.e. if you have a restaurant licence you will lose it if you get a taproom licence.
3. Manufacturers licence does not equate to taproom licence. Also well known, but perhaps glossed over.
4. Because of above, there is a new licence, which has a cost. Costs are not too dissimilar to regular licence costs. This was not argued for, afaik, or not well understood.
5. Because of the above, a day in court is required. More cost. Solicitors etc.
6. All the regulatory stuff (fire cert, tax clearance etc) has to be in place. Arguably not a bad thing, but also a cost.
There are other things which I don't think were given due consideration.
7. Planning permission. Most brewery premises probably don't have retail permission. Change-of-use planning permission (cost of filing the application) and if granted, development levies in the thousands.
8. Commercial rates will possibly increase, as the unit is now a retail unit.
9. Public liability insurance will be required.
A regular pub licence has most of these, with the exception of points 1 and 2. But they are massive drawbacks.
There is the argument that a lot of breweries in Ireland are not well located for walk-in trade. This is true, but only because taprooms were not on the horizon when leases were signed. I'm sure many would relocate for better opportunities. Conversely, where they are, the costs of a taproom under the current legislation combined with the minuscule potential business means they won't apply for such a licence. In fact I'd be surprised if a single brewery does.
As a consumer, I don't really care about the nitty gritty, but I do want a taproom experience similar to that in the US, the UK, etc. In Utah, a pretty conservative state, a retail licence costs €1250 with an annual renewal of €1000. Serve all the beer you want, with a 2am closing time. All breweries in the state, bar one (he would, but doesn't have physical space), have this licence.
We could have that here too, if enough people wanted it.