Today’s guest sit at the intersection of so many aspects of Irish craft beer. He’s an importer of American brands like Lagunitas. He’s a distributor of Ireland’s domestic craft brands like Galway Bay. He’s also the country’s first, and perhaps only official Beer Sommelier. So his perspective accounts for the curation, sales, distribution, and education of craft beer in a small country that’s recently flipped a switch in terms of its interests, with many people now drinking small craft, trendy beers like New England IPA alongside traditional beers like Guinness and Murphys. And in a market with incredibly entrenched brands as Ireland has, that sudden new interest has a major uphill battle to fight to gain awareness and shelf and tap handle space in the country’s on and off-license establishments, better known in the US as on and off premises - namely bars, restaurants, and liquor store and bottles shops. As of yet, there really isn’t a taproom model to speak of, with very few exceptions.
So to get a crash course on the many factors influencing Irish craft beer right now, for better and worse, I sat down with Phil Tavey of Grand Cru beers. We posted up at a bar called Sine é in Dublin who’s tap lists were a perfect representation of the state of things, running the gamut from Guinness to Galway Bay and a host of other small brewery offerings.
This is Phil Tavey of Grand Cru Beers, listen in.