Ireland’s largest craft drinks gathering, The Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair, has been announced as one of the featured events in the 2019 St. Patrick’s Festival.
Returning to the Convention Centre Dublin from 14th-16th March, this year’s Alltech Brews will showcase more than 300 beers, ciders and spirits from Ireland’s leading craft drinks producers.
The exhibitors at this year’s event acknowledged that issues such as market saturation, the Government’s Public Health Alcohol Bill and the introduction of so called ‘craft’ brands by large multinationals are putting pressure on the industry. However, the majority have demonstrated their commitment to continued growth, with 76% of exhibitors saying that they had recently hired or were planning to attract new staff in 2019. In addition over 50% of exhibitors have developed or are in the process of developing tourist attractions connected to their brewery or distillery.
Speaking about the upcoming event, Conor Farrell, Alltech Beverage Division Ireland, said: “In spite of the challenges, 2019 marks another year of continued expansion and development in Ireland’s craft drinks industry. As can be seen in the recent Drinks Industry Group of Ireland report, innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of the sector’s success and producers have shown a willingness to evolve and adapt which has resulted in a strengthened, competitive marketplace. We are really excited with the line-up for this year’s event which will celebrate the best of the Irish craft brewing and distilling sector in a fun, festival atmosphere.”
This year’s Alltech Brews takes place later than usual to allow the event to become one of the featured St. Patrick’s Festival events.
Exhibitors at the event will include many well known craft brands such as Rye River Brewing Company, Galway Hooker, BrewDog, Rascals Brewing Company, Boyne Brewhouse, MacIvors Cider, Blacks of Kinsale, West Cork Distillers, Kinnegar Brewing, Carrig Brewing, Foxes Rock, Carlow Brewing Company, Porterhouse Brewing Company, Hope Beer, Dundalk Bay Brewery, Bridewell Brewery and Pearse Lyons Distillery alongside a number of new and emerging brands such as Gaslamp Distillery, Priory Brewing, Persistence Brewing, Hopfully Brewing, Alska Cider, Loudons Brewing, Mil Gin, Ha’penny Gin, Legacy Cider, Lough Gill Brewery, Ballykilcavan Brewery, Kildare Brewing Company, Dead Centre Brewing and Wicklow Brewing Company.
The event’s Distillers Quarter, which was introduced in 2018, is back due to popular demand and will feature a range of Irish whiskey and gin alongside more unusual distilled products such as the Chinese liquor, Moutai, from Elite Spirits and a range of honey-based Mead from Kinsale Mead Company.
London Essence has been announced as the official premium tonic partner for the event and will have a featured stand in the Distillers Quarter, alongside Niche Vines which will offer red wine, white wine and prosecco.
Pearse Lyons Distillery will also host a series of whiskey masterclasses at the fair, where attendees can sample an Irish whiskey, a bourbon, a rye, and a Scotch in an intimate appreciation class. This ticketed event will cost €10 per person which also includes some light nibbles.
There are more food offerings at this year’s Alltech Brews than ever before, with the new addition of a food quarter for 2019, providing savoury and sweet choices to suit all tastes, including Pieman, J2 Sushi, Smokin’ Bones, Mr. Muffin Man, Barry John’s Sausages, Cornude Artisan Popcorn, Sheskin Smoked Salmon, Kono Pizza Ireland, and The Rolling Donut.
Alongside the lineup of exhibitors, the festival will feature live trad music, rock and soul and tunes from the 80s and 90s; Six Nations Rugby on three of the largest screens in Dublin; and various games areas including pool tables, foosball and air hockey.
This year, conscious efforts have been taken to increase the environmentally friendly aspect of the event. Along with established measures such as the Eco-Cup which attendees use throughout their attendance and eco-guidelines set by the Convention Centre Dublin regarding separate labelled bins; this year will see Murray’s Recyclable Plastic as the event’s furniture sponsor.