Strangford Lough Brewing Company

Strangford Lough Brewing Company - A Cautionary Tale

Part of Irish tradition, the distinctive and enticing beers and lagers brewed in Ireland are staple items for any beer lover. Ireland has a colourful history of brewing that dates back over 300 years and produces Guinness, the world’s most popular Irish beer. When it comes to truly Irish beer styles, Irish Red Ale and Irish Dry Stout stand out. However, there are more than 100 independent craft breweries, and many have found fans worldwide, especially in the America market. Ireland’s signature brewery beer style means followers are always ready to raise a pint of their favourite beer.
The sheer scope of innovation with craft beer means the industry is full of tales of success and failure. The Strangford Lough Brewing Company, founded in 2004, is one such story. This local Killyleagh firm produced a range of beers and was actively targeting North America when disaster struck.

Company Hit By $1.7m US Court Order

The company was selling its manufacturing and distribution rights for its beers and providing American brewers with the recipe, ingredients and equipment they needed. After being heralded a major success story, it quickly turned into legal chaos which threatened to force them out of business.
Washington brewery Palouse Falls questioned the recipe’s authenticity and that German shamrock, not Irish, was included as an ingredient. They also questioned whether the firm was actually Irish, as there was no plant in Ireland manufacturing ingredients, and complained about the equipment provided. The end result was court proceedings which awarded them $1.4m, with managing director Mr. Davies ordered to pay costs of nearly $238,000. He basically ran out of money defending the case. The story serves as a stark reminder to small breweries of the difficulties in trading worldwide and the litigative nature of American business.
barrel and different beer in glasses and bottle on wooden tabletop

Ireland's Rising Craft Beer Industry

Anybody mourning the sad loss of this contemporary brewery, along with several others, still has plenty of alternatives to enjoy. Despite difficulties, there are far too many rich and tempting Irish beers to have time to do them all full justice. The Emerald Isle is quickly modernising its beer scene, and is now home to many wonderfully inventive craft breweries serving interesting pints well beyond the traditional stouts.
These are exciting times for Irish craft brewers with many experimenting with local flavours and products to establish a true niche in the market. Ireland has many accomplishments to be proud of so far, and beer fans can look forward to a lot more developments on the horizon.

ICBI Beer Festival And Competition

2020 saw plans for the very first exciting Craft Brewers of Ireland beer festival which included a competition for the best craft beer of the year. Judged by their peers, twenty brewers participated and were also asked to nominate favourites by blind tasting. As it was the first one, there were not categories for each beer style, but the variety was amazing. Flavours included a chilli and raspberry beer, Saison ales, bock beer and a whole variety of different pale ales.
Happy friends drinking beer at beer festival

The first beer brewing winner was announced as Around the Clock Imperial Stout, a powerful punch of flavour aged in Dingle Whiskey casks. Second came a full-bodied stout, Astral Grains Foreign Extra Stout, and in third was Thumper Double India Pale Ale. Although Strangford Lough Brewing Company may not be around to compete, let’s hope the future holds better news and a much anticipated expanded annual competition.