MOLSON Coors has launched a range of craft beers – The Craft Collection – which, it claims, will bring together its "growing range of award-winning Irish and international craft beers for pubs and off-licences across Ireland under one umbrella brand offering".
The collection unites the Head Brewers of Franciscan Well, Sharp's, William Worthington and Blue Moon Brewing Company into one brewing collective.
Blue Moon Brewing Company brews the number one craft beer in the US, and one of the fastest selling beers in Ireland, Blue Moon.
Sharp's Brewery in Cornwall brews Doom Bar, one of the fastest growing top 50 beer brands in the UK, while the Franciscan Well brewery in Cork recently won a World Beer Award for its Shandon Export Stout.
William Worthington's Micro Brewery in Burton-upon-Trent has won multiple awards for White Shield.
Ireland was selected as the launch country for The Craft Collection due to the explosion of the craft beer market here, both in terms of the availability of craft beers and the establishment of a growing number of dedicated craft beer pubs.
In what is generally a declining beer market, in 2012 the craft beer sector doubled in size.
The craft beer market is expected to grow from €24m to approximately €235m in retail sales value by 2017. That's about 10pc of the Irish beer market.
Launching in Ireland first, the UK debut of The Craft Collection is due to take place later in 2013.
Coors will "reach out" to trade customers by providing them with an extensive beer education programme and promotional tools, designed to show them how to communicate the brands' inherent unique taste qualities to consumers.
Company director Niall Phelan said: "For us, craft beer is about amazing beers from creative, inspired brewers that will capture the imagination of the growing number of craft beer drinkers in Ireland and beyond.
"With the launch of The Craft Collection, our intention is to offer a range of quality beers and define craft for a new generation of drinkers.
"We're promoting great tasting beers from talented, passionate brewers who have and will always have the freedom to push their boundaries and explore their creativity."
The Craft Collection will also have an online home on Facebook at www.facebook.com/craftcollection.