Tuesday 21 November 2017

Application for craft beer tent turned down

James Ward of the White Hag brewery in Ballymote.
James Ward of the White Hag brewery in Ballymote.

An attempt by a Keash publican to sell alcohol from a tent in a yard close to the centre of Sligo during the Fleadh was turned down.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said the application wasn't within the spirit of the Licensing Act.

Publican Patrick Ward of The Foxes Den sought an occasional licence to sell alcohol at a yard to the rear of EJ's during the Fleadh from August 13th to the 18th.

This was to mark the opening of the first brewery in Sligo at Ballymote in more than 50 years.

Mr Ward also sought an occasional licence from August 8th to the 12th on the occasion of Sligo Summer Festival.

The applications were opposed by the Gardai and solicitor Gerard McGovern on behalf of the Vintners' Association.

Mr McGovern said the publicans saw it as just another pub.

Moving the applications, solicitor William Henry said the Ward family had two licences, one in Keash and the other in Charlestown.

The family also operated a brewery in Ballymote, the first to open and produce a local beer in over 50 years.

Mr Henry agreed with Judge Kilrane the licence was in Keash and the applicant was seeking an occasional licence in Sligo.

Judge Kilrane asked what had the opening of a brewery in Ballymote got to do with Sligo.

Mr Henry said the application was to publicise the opening of the brewery recently.

It was to give the brewery some exposure and its new craft beer.

Judge Kilrane asked if it could not supply the craft beer in to Sligo's pubs in the normal way.

Mr Henry said it was hoped to show how the drink was made.

"The only alcohol that will be sold in Sligo will be hand crafted beer," said Mr Henry.

Inspector Colm Nevin said the applicant seems to be promoting a brewery in Ballymote.

Mr McGovern said craft beers were already available in a number of pubs in Sligo.

"It could be supplied here like the other beers," he said.

Solicitor Brian Armstrong, on behalf of the County Council, said it was proposed to erect a marquee in the yard.

The fire officer didn't have an objection and the limit would be 378 people.

Addressing the judge, Mr Henry said: "I would implore the court in this economic climate to grant the application.

"All they want to try to do is to push their new craft beer brand further."

Judge Kilrane however said that unfortunately the application must fail.

"The application is to promote a product and ride on the licensing laws to do that.

"That is not within the spirit of the law.

"While I wish it well the applicant will have to promote it though the existing premises and advertising.

"But to grant an occasional licence to promote a particular product is not in the spirit of the Act," said the Judge.

The brewery, The White Hag, took to twitter afterwards to criticise the decision not to grant the application.

Sligo Champion

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