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Joe Kearns_TheWhiteHag copy

Joe Kearns, Master Brewer of The White Hag, Ballymote, Co Sligo,

Joe Kearns moved  from Ohio almost two years ago to take up the role as Master Brewer at The White Hag brewery in Sligo..

Yesterday, Joe hosted a group of visitors from the local Teagasc training centre.

As guests were leaving, they asked if they could buy some beers….

Joe writes:

Welcome to Ireland. We have one of the world’s fastest growing craft beer sectors in the world. We also have a massive tourist industry, and it just so happens that a lot of these tourists are coming from the States and they like local beer.

Beer tourism is on the rise. Unfortunately, after the brewers go thru an hour long dissertation on what makes their beer so significant, they have to then tell the party to go elsewhere to try their wares. Because, in Ireland it is illegal to serve, or sell, someone beer from the brewery.

And, if you want to, the license costs €70,000.

What about the local pubs? Wouldn’t they be affected? Not if the law was changed to reflect what they do in the States. Brewery tasting rooms typically close by 7pm. They also cannot sell wine and spirits. These aren’t pubs.

They are tasting rooms, and they’re overdue.

“During a conversation I was having with my long-time friend back in the States, I had came to an interesting conclusion: In Ireland, we’re fortunate enough to be able to still buy our bread at the local baker; buy our beef from the local butcher, yet we still can’t buy our beer from our local brewer.

In 2011, Ohio was one of the last states to implement the Brewery-on-premise-tasting-room laws. Up until that time, breweries were required to purchase an additional license to offer on-trade sales. The additional license cost $4,000. The motivating reason behind changing these laws was to promote tourism within the state; which it did.

White Hag Brewery

Pic via Belgian Smaak

Thanks Paul Mullin and Bob Coggins