We are a nation of discerning patrons…and in the home of the black stuff…we are particularly selective on what can be classified as a good pint, having no issue tasting multiple contenders in order to provide such classification!

So I suppose it is not surprising that the craft beer movement has become so established in Ireland and has not lessened in its popularity since first emerging over 20 years ago.

In these circumstances a cottage brewery can quickly become a well known brand. But what options are available for an upwardly mobile brewing company to capitalise on its popularity and what alternative revenue streams are possible from their micro-brewery premises?

How do I sell kegs?

In order to sell wholesale quantities it is necessary to apply to the District Court for a Wholesale Beer Dealer’s Licence. Wholesale quantities are not less than 18.192 litres at a time. The Licence also allows for the sale of Cider.

The local Gardaí Síochána must be given 21 days notice in writing of the application. If the application is granted, a Certificate will issue from the District Court which is forwarded to the Revenue Commissioners who issue the Licence and in turn renew it on an annual basis.

The premises must be shown to be suitable to be licensed, in that it has full planning permission and is fire safe, if necessary.

How do I sell pints?

A wholesale beer dealer’s licence does not allow for the sale of beer below the wholesale quantities.

In order to sell beer in smaller amounts to visitors of the premises, a method which has proven successful for other brewing companies is to split the premises into two sections; one part being the manufacturing section; the other being a visitor centre/café/restaurant/bar i.e. a retail space.

Separate applications are then taken for the retail section of the premises to allow for the sale of alcohol.

An application could be made to licence the retail space with a publican’s licence which will allow for a full bar onsite. The cost of this can often be too prohibitive to smaller businesses but it does provide the most flexibility in terms of what the premises can sell.

A less expensive alternative is to serve food in the retail space. The micro-brewer can apply for a restaurant certificate in the local District Court, and once held alongside a wine retailer’s on-licence, can serve wine and beer. However, two conditions apply in these circumstances (1) that the beer is consumed on the premises with a meal and paid for at the same time as the meal; and (2) that the restaurant space does not contain a bar.  

The above information is not exhaustive and should not be relied on, depending on the circumstances there are lots of options available to micro-brewers seeking to sell their product on site. For more information contact me.