How many members are in the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland?
Hows’ everything? how has the covid-19 affected the Ireland craft beer industry?
The breweries with a route to the retail market have generally thrived during Covid times and in some cases have experienced growth. Those with a limited retail market have been very badly affected due to extremely prolonged hospitality closures in Ireland and whilst we are not aware as yet of any significant closures across the craft brewing sector, there has certainly been a massive impact to smaller breweries that were largely focussed on keg sales. Overall, there has been a significant trend to support local producers in Ireland and a massive uptake in online sales has been beneficial to many businesses. It has been a very mixed experience across the board though and a number of our members temporarily ceased production, whilst others scaled up.
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What are the challenges for the Ireland craft beer industry?
Access to taps in hospitality remains a significant challenge. This is due to the massive marketing budget available to the big brands.
Licencing laws (which while recently revised to allow manufacturers to apply for on-site licenses) remain an issue to gain market access
Lack of support from Government bodies remains an issue largely owing to the problematic nature of “promoting alcohol” in light of strong lobby groups and an overall anti-alcohol agenda that does not differentiate small craft businesses from multinational companies.
What’s next for the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland?
We have a number of consumer and trade-facing projects planned. The ICBI will continue with our Beer of the Year competition and are currently involved in a widespread promotional campaign for craft breweries leading back to a beer map on irishbeer.ie
We will be working closely with the with the associations to promote craft beer in pubs and hospitality in late autumn / early winter.
ICBI is also organizing an educational seminar focussing on quality issues either in early winter virtually or hopefully early spring in person.
The ICBI continuously works with trade partners to promote the industry and liaises with government agencies where necessary. We also continue to disseminate the most up-to-date information to all of our members on current issues.