What a week it’s turning out to be. After months and months of planning, months and months of building, plumbing, wiring and fabricating, months and months of brewing (well, fermenting and conditioning to be precise), the time has come to take the plunge and launch. We’re hugely conscious we’ll probably never get to write that headline again – You only launch once, right?
We’ve spent all our money on beer but thrilled that we’ve invested in our hometown as a location for our brewery. Bank managers know us on first name terms. A few check in to ensure I haven’t died. I reassure them I’m reasonably well and not drinking the takings. They sleep easier that night. Pallets of bottles, grains and boxes pack out the brewery until we really can’t take in another pallet without moving something (what happened that floor plan I had?). No forklift either so it’s a case of get stuck in.
Then, suddenly, it’s the day of launch. Well, that snuck up on us. Not.
The response has just been fantastic. We’re pretty humbled by the reception we get from the bars and off-licences. From putting up displays of our beers to hanging posters, to windows displays, we can only describe the reception as ‘open arms’. We’re buzzed and a bit in awe by every bar and off-licence that stocks us. Heck, they’re great establishments, built up over years by their owners trading on their reputations and suddenly our beers are on offer. Yikes.
To make great beer, you just can’t beat quality ingredients, time and an obsessive brother/brewer – in no particular order. I’m not sure great beer can be made without all three. Our first two lagers, Fir Bolg and Blackguard, use more grains, more hops and more time requiring a saint load of patience until everything has blended and mellowed. Then boom! Local craft beer arrives in Youghal. Hooray! The Craft Beer Revolution just got that bit stronger.
It’s been well over 100 years since there was a brewery in Youghal. A large porter and ale brewery by Messrs. Deaves and Eustace was in operation around 1837 at the Northern end of the town – possibly on Cork Hill. It even had a malting operation going with it. Youghal harbour was the scene for serious imports and exports of grains, barley and firkins, with quantities far bigger than even Cork City – potentially the beer was being exported in firkins! In a 1787 directory of Youghal, there were a a decent few occupations listed as ‘brewer’. Wouldn’t it be mad to to think that someone in 150 years would be looking up when Munster Brewery was established?