Tuesday 21 August 2018

Eight Degrees to team up with new Caskmate

Award-winning Mitchelstown craft brewery acquired by Irish distillers

Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace, co-founders of the Mitcheltown-based Eight Degrees Brewing Company
Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace, co-founders of the Mitcheltown-based Eight Degrees Brewing Company

Bill Browne

The founders of award-winning Mitcheltown-based craft beer producer, Eight Degrees Brewery, have been toasting yet another significant milestone it its hugely successful story.

A mere eight-years after Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace started producing their signature Howling Gale Irish Pale Ale, the company has been snapped up by drinks giant Irish Distillers in what is believed to be a multi-million euro deal. 

According to Irish Distillers, the deal will result in Eight Degrees Brewing providing "a long term beer supply to support the global growth" of its popular Jameson Caskmate Whiskey series.

Launched globally in 2014 after a test run in Ireland, Caskmates is a variation of Jameson whiskey that has been aged in craft beer barrels. According to Irish Distillers some 200,000 cases of Jameson Caskmates were sold across 40 different markets in 2017. 

Irish Distillers had previously collaborated with the Cork Franciscan Well Brewery to supply barrels for its Caskmates IPA edition. However, sourcing enough barrels has proved to be problematic, with the company saying the ongoing success of Caskmates had made the Eight Degrees acquisition necessary. 

"With this success comes a need to plan for the future and that's what led to this exciting deal with Scott and Cam at Eight Degrees," said Irish Distillers production manager Tommy Keane.

"We are looking forward to working with the their team to continue to grow Jameson Caskmates on the world stage from Midleton and Mitchelstown," he added. 

Originally hailing from New Zealand and Australia respectively, Scott and Cam came up with the idea of making their own beer while having a quiet pint one evening when there were not many home-produced craft Irish beers. 

In order to address this, the duo set up their own brewery at the foot of the Galtee mountains located eight degrees west longitude (which is how the brewery got its name) with the aim of producing 'adventurous' beers using only natural ingredients.

The multi-award company now brews a core range of four beers  - Howling Gale, Barefoot Bohemian Pilsner Lager, Sunburst Irish Red Ale and Knockmealdown Irish Stout - in addition to a range of seasonal and limited edition brews. 

In a joint statement Scott and Cam said the ten-strong Eight Degrees workforce were looking forward to working with Tommy Keane and his team in Midleton and would "continue to create new and exciting beers for out customers." 

"When we set up the brewery in 2010, it was with the idea of brewing naturally adventurous, great tasting beers that were more exciting and innovative than anything else in the market," the said. 

"Becoming part of the Irish Distillers family means that we have the long-term capabilities to continue on this mission as well as being part of the very exciting Jameson Caskmates story".