Big business in Ireland

In this edition of The Capital B, Seamus O’Hara of The Carlow Brewery Company lifts the lid on the busy craft beer business and sheds a light on whether any brewery can truly stand the test of time.

The O’Hara brewery was set up over 20 years ago and it all started with a grá for beer. After experiencing the vast array of small breweries in the UK, Seamus saw a gap in the market, in other words, he wanted the good stuff and Irish beer just wasn’t cutting it.

At the time, craft beer was a mere glint in the eyes of out of work actors across the nation, but the O’Hara crew had stumbled upon something with substance and sustainability, and they wanted to see it through.

Using the old style of BES Investment the O’Hara team drummed up support from family and friends, and starting slow they began the long process of cracking into the competitive market of distilling.

One of the major forces affecting any start-up brewery is cash flow,  it’s highly capital intensive and according to Seamus; it can cost up to a quarter of a million euro to just get things going.

Starting on a customer by customer basis they gradually developed a loyal following and began looking to export. With some bumps along the road the brewery has gone from strength to strength, and the future is looking bright in this busy sector.

Also on this week’s episode, pub aficionado Noel Anderson discusses the surge in late bars and decline of nightclubs, plus a deep dive into newly modernised Jameson Whiskey.