Local Food Stories


Hops, malt and lemongrass

Dungarvan Brewing Company
#beer #ireland #microbrewery

Beer belongs to Ireland like pubs and smoked salmon. It is surprising that on the green island the micro-brewing culture has developed very late compared with neighbouring England. ‘Micro-breweries have only become a nation-wide trend since 2014,’ says Claire Dalton. Together with her husband, Tom, brother Cormac and his wife Jen they belong to the pioneers of the micro-brewing scene in Ireland. Back in 2010 the four founded the Dungarvan Brewing Company. The business is named after the picturesque town in the south-east of Ireland called Dungarvan.
The pubs and restaurants along the small harbour quayside have readily taken this locally produced beer into their stock range. ‘We received so much positive feedback that we decided to increase the production level step by step,’ recalls Claire. Typically for many start-up companies the founders had to deal with everything, from production to deliveries. During the first three years, Tom drove up and down the island in order to make deliveries and to promote the beer.

Each step takes place in-house

In the meanwhile a lot has changed. Today restaurants and pubs are supplied by wholesalers, and not just in Ireland. ‘We export our beer among other places to France and Italy,’ Claire says with pride. On the production side some adjustments had to be made too. Since recently the Dungarvan Brewing Company uses a 1,000 litre capacity brew kit and six fermenters. Despite all this development a lot has remained the same. Each step of production occurs in-house and ‘Our beer goes through bottle conditioning,’ explains Claire. This means after about one week of fermenting in the fermenter the beer is filled unfiltered into bottles before starch and yeast are added. After this step it is allowed to settle for a further week at 24°C. ‘In this time the alcohol and carbon dioxide are formed,’ explains Claire. A process which can also take place in kegs or barrels and is the typical method of producing ale. 

An opportunity for local farmers

Something has stayed the same ‘Nearly all the ingredients come from Ireland and whenever possible from local farmers,’ says Claire. However the hops has to be imported. Even though there was a time when hops were grown in the region of Dungarvan. A tradition which sadly died out about thirty years ago. Large breweries pressed the price so low that is wasn’t worth cultivating anymore. But according to Claire this could change in the future. Due to micro-breweries local farmers are reconsidering planting hops as a new income source.

Always good for a surprise

Currently the range of the Dungarvan Brewing Company includes five different beers. From Irish stout to various ales and gluten free beer. Besides these Cormac and Tom brew seasonal beers or fantasy-full creations like for example Thai beer with cardamom, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. In this way the brewing masters and the pub visitors never get bored.