This article was written by American Beer Writer George Lenker aka Beernut and originally appeared in 'The Republican' newspaper, Massachusetts. Keep an eye out for Business & Finance Magazine which will shortly feature his article on Irish Craft Brewing. You can view other articles by George at www.thebeernut.net [site now defunct - Ed, Feb. '08].

Craft brewing was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of company assets showed industrial machinery and chemical apparatus far beyond what any craft brewery would reasonably possess. Groogan compiled it and Groogan's name was known and respected wherever large scale brewers met and discussed their trade.

Groogan knew it was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Alphonsus Groogan was Chief Operations Officer at Gargle's brewery, and had been even before it became a subsidiary of the Globooze conglomerate. Under his old title of Brewmaster, Groogan had overseen the throwing out of the unreliable old mash tuns and open fermentation tanks; he had supervised the installation of the new, fully-automated, continuous fermentation processes which made Gargle's a world leader in industrially-produced beer. Yes, there was no question but that Groogan knew craft brewing at Gargle's was as dead as the beer in a can of Gargle's Extra Stout.

LogoGalway Hooker is one of Ireland's newest craft beers, having only been on the market since the summer of 2006. It's a style that hasn't really featured on draught in Ireland before, a flavour packed hoppy pale ale.

I recently visited Hooker brewery and had a chat with brewer Aidan Murphy.

Boyne Brewhouse

They don't go in for half measures at the Boyne Brewhouse. The 30hL Kaspar Shulz brewkit was commissioned last October and occupies just one part of the large facility based in a former car showroom by the M1 just outside Drogheda. When a Beoir delegation visited yesterday things were very much a work in progress, with extra fermenters due to come on-stream shortly, a bottling and canning line going through final checks before commissioning, the copper stills of the Boann Distillery awaiting their turn to be hooked up, and a gin still still in bubblewrap in its crate. When the facility is complete it will incorporate a visitors' centre and restaurant as well as a vast warehouse for maturing the whiskey.

The whole lot is owned by the Cooney family and trades under an independent umbrella company which uses the Irish form of the family name: Na Cuana. Pat Cooney bought the Gleeson bottling company in the 1970s and built it into one of the largest drinks firms in Ireland, producing, importing and distributing wine, soft drinks, cider and liqueurs. There was also a brief foray into beer with Behan's Brew No. 1 lager in the early 2000s. Then in 2012, Gleeson's was acquired by C&C, though the cider and cream liqueur arms have remained with the family and are still produced in separate facilities in Tipperary. Now the company has passed to the second generation of Cooneys, adding spirits and beer to the portfolio and expanding the cider range from budget brand Devils Bit to include a mainstream Bulmers competitor as well as a craft brand, Four Keepers, all of them produced from cider apples grown in the family's own orchard. After the sale of Gleeson's to C&C, there was money available. A distillery and brewery was the end result.

Boyne Brewhouse

Production in Drogheda is headed by brewer and distiller Áine O'Hora who came to the company via Matilda Bay Brewery in Melbourne. Initial plans are for three core beers: Born in a Day pale ale which is already in pubs; Long Arm, a 100% Saaz Dortmunder-style export lager; and Pagan's Pillar, a traditional Irish red given a German twist with Mandarina Bavaria hops. All are 4.8% ABV and will be sold kegged and in the brewery's distinctive custom-embossed bottles. Specials and seasonals will follow in due course and the state of the art packaging facility behind the brewhouse allows for large-format bottles. Canned beer is also being planned. Though the bottles are pasteurised, a 26-metre-long tunnel pasteuriser allows a light touch, with the beer never going over 60°C. In keeping with a philosophy to use local ingredients where possible, malt is supplied by Loughran Family, topped up by speciality varieties from Weyermann.

Boyne Brewhouse

Unusually for a start-up brewery, there's almost no room for expansion. The company has opted to go straight for the largest size possible -- capable of producing 35,000 hL of beer per year though the intention is to remain under the limit for the microbrewers' lower rate of duty.

The potential of the brewery and its suite of sister products is enormous. Na Cuana is set to become a major player in Irish beer and cider in the months to come as well as being a major tourist draw for Drogheda.

Many thanks to the Cooney family and Áine for their hospitality during our visit.

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This table has been created as an at-a-glance guide to the various beers and ciders produced by companies based in Ireland. A tick denotes that this brand's products qualify as Irish Craft Beer or Cider, that is: produced on the island of Ireland by an Irish company which makes less than 40,000hL per year.

Last update: 30th October 2019

Irish Craft?

Name

Type

Also Known As

Notes

YES 12 Acres Microbrewery    
  5 Lamps Microbrewery   Owned by C&C.
YES 59 South Contract brand   Brewed at Select Batch.
YES 5th Quarter Contract Brand   Brewed at Hilden.
YES 9 White Deer Microbrewery    
YES Achill Island Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Ards Microbrewery    
YES Armagh Artisan Cider Maker Carsons, Maddens, Mollys  
YES Arthurstown Microbrewery Dunbrody, King's Bay, Hook  No longer in business.
YES Apple Farm Artisan Cider Maker Con's   
YES Ballykilcavan Microbrewery    
YES Baronscourt Microbrewery    
YES Barrahooley Microbrewery    
YES Barrelhead Contract Brand   Brewed at JW Sweetman.
  Bartleys Contract Brand   Brewed at Station Works.
YES Beaky Dargus Microbrewery    
YES BeerHut Microbrewery    
YES Benwiskin Contract Brand   Brewed at Brú.
YES Beoir Chorca Duibhne Microbrewery West Kerry  
YES Big Hand Contract Brand   Brewed at Trouble.
YES Black Donkey Microbrewery    
YES Black Mountain Microbrewery    
YES Black's Microbrewery    
YES Blockburger Contract Brand    Brewed at Brú.
YES Bo Bristle Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Boghopper Microbrewery Inishowen   No longer in business.
  Bohemian Craft Ale Contract brand    Brewed at Five Lamps.
YES Boundary Microbrewery    
YES Boyne Valley Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Brehon Microbrewery    
YES Brennan's Contract Brand    Brewed at Dundalk Bay.
YES Brewtonic Contract Brand    Brewed at Rascals.
YES Bridewell Microbrewery    
  Brown Bear Contract brand    Brewed at Station Works.
YES Brú Microbrewery  Carrig  
YES Bullhouse Microbrewery    
YES Burren Microbrewery Curtin's, The Roadside Tavern  
  C&C Multinational Bulmers, Magners, Dowd's Lane,  Clonmel 1650, Roundstone, Tipperary Brewing, Pana Cork Lager, Five Lamps  
YES Canvas Microbrewery    
YES Carlingford Microbrewery    
YES Carlow Microbrewery O'Hara's  32% owned by Hijos de Rivera.
YES Catch-22 Contract brand    Brewed at Brú.
YES Christy's Contract Brand    Brewed at Brú.
YES Clanconnel Contract Brand McGrath's  Brewed at Rye River.
YES Clonakilty Microbrewery    
YES Cloughmore Contract Brand    Brewed at Whitewater.
YES Cider Mill Artisan Cider Maker Cockagee  
YES Clear Sky Contract Brand    Brewed at Hilden.
YES Connemara Contract Brand Connacht   Brewed at Reel Deel.
YES Corrib Microbrewery Wild Bat  
YES Costello's Microbrewery    
YES Cotton Ball Microbrewery    
YES Crafty Bear Contract Brand    Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Crafty Divils Contract Brand    Brewed at Kelly's Mountain.
YES Craigie's Artisan Cider Maker    Owned by Carlow Brewing.
YES Dan Kelly's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Dead Centre Contract brand    Brewed at St. Mel's. Some small batch beers brewed in the taproom.
  Desmond Contract brand    Brewed in Spain.
  Diageo Multinational Guinness, Smithwick's, Harp, Macardles, Rockshore  
YES Dick Mack's Microbrewery    
  Dingle Contract brand Tom Crean's   
YES Donegal Microbrewery    
YES Dooliner Contract Brand    Brewed at Carlow.
YES Dopey Dick Contract Brand    Brewed at Hillstown
YES Dot Contract Brand    Brewed at various Irish microbreweries.
YES Dovehill Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Downstream Contract brand    Brewed at Mourne Mountains.
YES Drew Fox Microbrewery Clever Man  
YES Dublin Beer Factory Contract brand Blue Lager   Brewed at Dundalk Bay.
YES Dublin Brewer Contract brand    Brewed at Brú.
YES Dundalk Bay Microbrewery Brewmaster  
YES Dungarvan Microbrewery    
  Eight Degrees Microbrewery    Owned by Pernod Ricard.
YES Elbow Lane Microbrewery    
YES Evans' Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Falling Apple Contract Brand    Owned by Carlow Brewing.
YES Farmageddon Microbrewery    
YES Fat Walrus Contract brand    Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Finn Valley Microbrewery    
YES The Format Contract brand    Brewed at Third Barrel
YES Four Provinces Microbrewery    
  Franciscan Well Microbrewery    Owned by Molson Coors.
YES Galway Bay Microbrewery    
YES Galway Hooker Microbrewery    
YES Glens of Antrim Microbrewery    No longer in business. 
YES Gogarty's Contract brand    Brewed at Carlow.
YES Great Island Contract Brand    Brewed at Select Batch.
  Hardy Bucks Contract Brand    Brewed at C&C.
YES Hawthorne Tales Contract Brand    Brewed at Cotton Ball.
YES Heaney Microbrewery    
YES Heartland Microbrewery    No longer in business.
  Heineken Multinational Murphy's, Beamish, Cute Hoor, Kettle Brew  
YES Hercules Microbrewery Yardsman  
YES Highbank Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Hilden Microbrewery    
YES Hillstown Microbrewery    
YES Hope Microbrewery    
YES Hopfully Contract brand    Brewed at Lough Gill 
YES Hyland Contract Brand Celtic Warrior   Brewed at Third Barrel.
YES Independent Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Inishmacsaint Microbrewery Fermanagh Beer Company  
YES Irishtown Contract Brand Dublin Blonde   Brewed at Hope.
YES Jack Cody's Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Jack Doyle's Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Jack Smyth's Microbrewery    
YES JJ's Microbrewery    
YES Johnny Fall Down Artisan Cider Maker  Killahora Orchards  
YES JW Sweetman Microbrewery    
YES Kelly's Mountain Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Kerry Contract Brand  Gnéas  Brewed at Rascals.
YES Kildare Microbrewery    
YES Killarney Microbrewery    
YES Kilmegan Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Kinnegar Microbrewery    
YES Knockout Microbrewery    
YES Lacada Microbrewery    
YES Land & Labour Contract Brand    Brewed at Galway Bay
YES Larkin's Microbrewery Dublin Lager Brewery   
YES Last Port Contract Brand    Brewed at Cotton Ball
YES Lecale Microbrewery    
YES Limerick City Contract Brand    Brewed at Brú
YES Lineman Microbrewery    
YES Little Island Contract Brand Kenmare   Beer brewed at Brú. Cider made at Armagh Cider.
YES Llewellyn's Orchard Artisan Cider Maker Double LL  
YES Long Meadow Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Longueville House Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Loopland Contract Brand   Brewed at Knockout
YES Loudons Microbrewery    
YES Lough Gill Microbrewery Onward  
YES Mac's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES MacIvor's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES McGill's Microbrewery    
YES Magic Hill Microbrewery    
YES Manor Contract Brand Mont  Brewed at Boyne Brewhouse 
YES Marks & Spencer Contract Brand    Irish Stout brewed at Carlow
YES MashDown Microbrewery    
YES McCrackens Microbrewery    
YES Mescan Microbrewery    
YES Metalman Microbrewery    
YES Midlands Beer Collective Contract Brand    Brewed at Hope
YES Monck House Contract Brand    Brewed at Brú
YES Mountain Man Contract Brand    Brewed at Cotton Ball
YES Mourne Mountains Microbrewery    
YES Mourne Seafood Contract Brand    Brewed at Whitewater
YES Munster Microbrewery    
YES N17 Contract Brand    Brewed at Reel Deel
YES Na Cuana Microbrewery / Artisan Cider Maker Boyne Brewhouse, Devil's Bit   Cider produced at Na Cuana's cidery in Borrisoleigh 
  Night Cap Contract Brand Gallopers   Brewed in England 
YES Norn Iron Microbrewery    
YES Northbound Microbrewery    
YES O Brother Microbrewery    
YES Ó Cléirigh Microbrewery    
YES O'Connor Microbrewery    
YES O'Shea's Contract Brand   Brewed at Carlow
YES Old Mill Microbrewery    
  Orchard Thieves Contract Brand    Made by Heineken
  Orpens Contract Brand    Made at C&C
YES Otterbank Contract Brand    Brewed at YellowBelly
YES Persistence Contract Brand    Brewed at JJ's
YES Pitt Bros Contract Brand    Beer brewed at Brú, Cider made at Armagh.
YES Pokertree Microbrewery    
YES Porterhouse Microbrewery    
YES Priory Microbrewery    
YES Rascals Microbrewery    
YES Raven Microbrewery  The Old Schoolhouse  
YES Red Hand Microbrewery  The Brewer's House  
YES Reel Deel Microbrewery    
YES Rising Sons Microbrewery    
YES Rough Brothers Microbrewery    
YES Rye River Microbrewery McGargle's, Solas, Colgan's, Crafty, Grafters  
YES Sailortown Contract Brand    Brewed at Carrig
YES Samuels Contract Brand    Brewed at Knockout
YES Scott's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Select Batch Microbrewery BYOB Ventures, Postcard, formerly Dundalk Heritage Brewery and Craftworks  Mainly produces contract beers. Own range sold under the Postcard brand.
YES Sheelin Microbrewery    
YES Sheridan's Microbrewery Walsh's   
YES Soulwater Contract Brand    Brewed at JJ's
YES Spiddal River Contract Brand Bogman   Brewed at Trouble
YES St. Mel's Microbrewery    
  Station Works Microbrewery Cumberland Breweries Owned by Alltech
YES Stonewell Artisan Cider Maker Finnbarra  
YES Sullivan's Contract Brand    Brewed at Boyne Brewhouse and Dundalk Bay. Some small batch beers brewed in the taproom.
YES Tempted Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Third Barrel Microbrewery Third Circle, Stone Barrel   
YES Toby's Artisan Cider Maker    
YES Torc Microbrewery    
YES Treaty City Microbrewery Conradh  
YES Trouble Microbrewery    
YES  Two Sides Contract brand    Brewed at Third Barrel
YES Two Sisters Contract Brand Brigid's Ale  Brewed at Trouble
YES UCC Pilot Microbrewery    
YES Urban Microbrewery    Co-owned by Carlow Brewing 
YES Walled City Microbrewery    
YES West Cork Microbrewery    
YES West Mayo Microbrewery    No longer in business.
YES Western Herd Microbrewery    
  Wexford 1798 Contract brand    Brewed in the Netherlands
YES Whiplash Contract brand    Brewed at various Irish breweries
YES White Gypsy Microbrewery    
YES White Hag Microbrewery    
YES Whitewater Microbrewery   25% owned by C&C
YES Wicklow Microbrewery    
YES Wicklow Wolf Microbrewery    
YES Wide Street Microbrewery    
YES Wood Key Contract brand   Brewed at Third Barrel
YES YellowBelly Microbrewery