Quick update on this: the procurement guys from JDW were over this last couple of days and Reuben and I met them briefly yesterday.
Basically, they want to do here exactly what they do in the UK: cheap beer, cask beer, local beer. Local food too. But they're at the very beginning of the process so they don't know how it'll actually pan out, who will do business with them, and what will be on offer when the doors open. Shipping beer over from the UK seems to be a last resort option if they can't source what they want here.
The property search is ongoing, they're definitely looking for about 30 places and in Dublin have been looking in the city centre as well as the suburbs.
It's still very much a small niche of a niche market in Ireland.[/quote:2uev403s]One could argue that pricing and availability have a lot to do with that: both things that the Wetherspoon model attempts to address.
Technicially it's a niche in the UK too, and if you took Wetherspoon out of the picture, a very small niche indeed.
I reckon if they put Greene King IPA and Ruddles County on cask for €3 a pint*, people would buy enough of it.
[size=85:2uev403s]*Just a made-up hypothesis, not something anyone from Wetherspoon said they're actually planning to do.[/size:2uev403s]