Beer brewers get even more crafty in bid to change our drink habits
IN the David versus Goliath battle within Ireland's beer industry, craft brewers have now opened a novel second front.
They have not only brewed up a storm in terms of booming sales but many have now begun offering brewery tours and tastings to mirror the success of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
The Guinness tourist centre is now Ireland's No 1 visitor attraction and hosted 1.15 million people in 2013.
In the battle to win sales from drinks giants Diageo/Guinness, Heineken and C&C/Bulmers, craft brewers have identified brewery tours and tastings as the way to persuade punters to change their long-held drinks preferences.
One of the first to offer public brewery tours was the Franciscan Well in Cork which operates from a premises with a history dating back 800 years.
The growing popularity of craft beers has also led to an unexpected jobs boost for the long-suffering Irish pub sector, with a number of outlets opening as specialist 'brew houses'.
One new brew bar, Rising Sons in Cork, will create 50 jobs when fully operational.
The number of Irish craft brewers has already doubled over the past 10 years, with one microbrewery, Eight Degrees, having to increase its production capacity by 150pc. Eight Degrees began brewing from a premises on the Dublin Road in Mitchelstown on April 2 2011 – and has seen its workforce expand from three to seven over the past 18 months.