On Wednesday 21 October hundreds of beer drinkers from across Europe raised a glass in Brussels to celebrate of 25 years of EBCU (European Beer Consumers Union) campaigning success.
The celebration took place at De Markten, where members were able to sample beers hand delivered from across Europe, showing the great diversity of beer styles and traditions existing in different countries. Members of the European Parliament, European Commission and European Economic and Social Committee officials were in attendance.
Beoir was represented by Chairman Reuben Gray (pictured) and Irish brewing by Carlow Brewing Company, which kindly donated a range of its beers to the event.
The new EBCU executive was welcomed in on the night, which will include Carl Kins from Belgium, Bo Jensen from Denmark, Tim Webb from the UK, Jan Lichota from Poland and Henri Reuchlin from The Netherlands. The new executive will be focusing EBCU's campaigning efforts on promoting transparency in consumer information of beer and for a fair taxation system for beer across the European Union.
EBCU Chairman Henri Reuchlin says: "The 25th anniversary of the EBCU marks an important milestone in our history. We have more support than ever before from European countries, demonstrating the real demand for a pan-European voice for beer drinkers. We look forward to working closely with the European institutions and our member countries to support the beer industry across Europe."
On 23rd May Ireland will go to the polls to elect 11 members of the European Parliament, to serve a five-year term representing the citizens of Midlands-North-West, South and Dublin. Decisions taken by the parliament over its next term will affect voters in a wide variety of ways across many parts of their daily lives. It is of paramount importance that we choose the candidates which best represent our beliefs and will fight our corner on the European stage.
Beoir wants to ensure that, as far as beer policy is concerned, voters are making the right choice in this election. To this end we have joined with our colleagues in the European Beer Consumers Union to survey election candidates across Europe, seeking their take on issues which affect all European beer drinkers and which fall into the remit of the European institutions.
How it works
Later this week, an e-mail will be sent to every European election candidate* inviting them to participate in our online survey. The survey presents candidates with statements on issues such as:
- Beer's importance in history and society
- Responsible drinking
- The drinkers' right of choice
- The right to know what goes into our beer
- Taxation of beer
and asks their opinions on these matters.
Prior to the election, voters will be invited to visit the polling website and view the results, seeing what their candidates think on the issue of beer and drinkers' rights, or if they even care about it enough to offer any opinion. You'll even be able to take the survey yourself and be automatically matched to the local candidate whose views are most in agreement with your own.
Though this is just a bit of pre-election fun, the real business of fighting the beer drinkers' cause will continue after the election, by Beoir in Ireland, and by our EBCU representatives in Brussels.
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Oktoberfest season is upon us once again, the annual celebration of strong Bavarian lager served in one litre mugs. It's the time of year when you can expect to find even the most traditional of Irish pubs decked out in blue and white and flying the flags of either Paulaner or Erdinger.
Usually, The Bull & Castle in Dublin is no exception to this, but they've taken a different tack for 2013. From 20th September through to 6th October the Beer Hall will be celebrating its first "Irishtoberfest", showcasing limited edition beers from Irish microbreweries.
The line-up includes Eight Degrees Amber Ella, one of the best-received beers at the Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival earlier this month. Brand new specials include Smokescreen: a dark smoked ale from Metalman, and Fuzzy Logic: the first wheat beer by Trouble Brewing. If you simply must have a maßkrug of lager there's O'Hara's Helles and Eight Degrees Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner to quench your thirst.
Over the October Bank Holiday weekend for the second year running, Bord Bia has organised a nationwide celebration of Irish farmhouse cheese and craft beer. Over 20 tasting and demonstration events will be taking place around the country, with many pubs, off licences and markets offering the opportunity to try some of the best Irish cheeses with our native craft beers. Formats vary from formal tutored tasting events to casual tasting trays of cheese and beer available throughout the weekend.
Cheese and beer is a natural pairing and represents two products about which Ireland has a great deal to be proud. This weekend offers a great opportunity to explore them side by side.
The events begin on Thursday 25th October and run through until Monday 29th. Details of the events can be found on the Bord Bia website here, as well as the chance to win a craft beer and cheese hamper (closing date 24th October).
2013 looks to be a bumper year for Irish craft brewing. With Mountain Man launching shortly, to be followed by Holy Mountain, 9 White Deer and several others, the prospective is one of greater choice than ever before for the beer consumer.
The established microbreweries, meanwhile, are struggling to keep up with demand, and two of them have recently undertaken expansion work.
The Galway Bay Brewery opened at The Oslo in Salthill, Co. Galway in 2009. The brewkit was a modest 10hL set-up in a rear corner of the building. Since opening, however, the Cottage Group of pubs which owns the brewery has expanded significantly and now carries three to four Galway Bay beers in seven pubs in Dublin and Galway as well as the brewpub itself. With plans afoot to launch the range in bottles too, the need for greater capacity was obvious.
Space has been found on the Oslo premises to double the kit size and a 20hL brewhouse is now under construction. The open fermenters will largely be replaced by sealed unitanks allowing a much greater degree of control over each batch. A smaller pilot brewery is also to be installed, allowing what head brewer Chris Treanor describes as "more adventurous brews" to be produced. The new area is split over two storeys, allowing for a on-site malt store as well as a laboratory.
The new brewkit arrives next month and Chris is hoping the first beer from it will be flowing in July.
Meanwhile, the elder of Co. Donegal's two breweries -- Kinnegar, established 2011 -- is also in the process of increasing its capacity, "from tiny to just plain small" says proprietor Rick LeVert. A purpose-built brewhouse is almost finished at time of writing, occupying a compact 100 square metres on a farmyard site overlooking Lough Swilly.
The brewery will be home to a two-vessel brewkit plus three cylindrical fermentation vessels and a number of conditioning and bright beer tanks. Determined to keep the business on a farmyard scale, the new Kinnegar brewery will be creating its beers in 10hL batches.
June 2013 is the month Rick expects his hair to go grey, with the expected completion of the building, delivery of the equipment and -- all going well -- the first brewday. You can see pictures of the new brewery and follow developments as they happen on the Kinnegar Brewing website.
Beoir wishes every success to both projects and we look forward to tasting the new beers.