In the beginning of the nineteenth century there were over 200 breweries in Ireland, more than 50 in Dublin alone. A large malt house on the outskirts of our local town, Bagenalstown, originally operated as a water powered brewery until the late 1700’s before being turned in to a malting facility which continued to produce malt until the mid-1980’s. This building still dominates the entrance to the town and still has intact floor maltings. Carlow town boasted no fewer than 8 breweries. Unfortunately Ireland had a steady decline in it’s indigenous brewing industry over the past 200 years, with the beer industry today dominated by a small number of large internationally owned breweries.
While Ireland’s prestigious reputation for producing quality beers continued to dwindle, a craft brewing revival had begun in Britain and America. As early as the 1980s these two countries had gained great diversity in brewing, and Ireland looked to follow suit. In the early 1990’s the O’Hara family, along with a few other beer-loving entrepreneurs, stepped onto the scene, ready to put Ireland on the map. Ireland’s microbreweries were born again and the wheels were set in motion for the slow but highly successful craft beer evolution.