Liam Tutty’s beer moment came in Freemantle, Australia, when he visited the legendary Little Creatures brewery. “That lit a fire,” he says.
Having worked in radio media and marketing, he then switched to Rye River Brewery before setting up his own operation, Dead Centre Brewing. “We set up as a contract brand, brewing out of the St Mel’s brewery in Longford in summer 2017. Our first beer (and still our flagship) was Marooned IPA, which includes Kilbeggan organic oats, a nice local ingredient. The idea was to test the water. Luckily our beers were well received, so we put the wheels in motion to set up our own brewpub.”
It all happened very quickly. They started in November 2018 and opened in Athlone, Co Westmeah, in February 2019. “The building had always been a bar or restaurant, so the infrastructure was already there. We had to apply for a change of use to mixed use premises, but everyone was positive and it got through first time.”
Installing the brewery came a little later. In fact, it didn’t start until lockdown. “The response was so good, our volumes shot up. It’s a good complaint. We still brew under contract, at St Mel’s and 12 Acres. I would prefer to brew it all here. We currently brew with two 10-hectolitre fermenters and have two more on order.
“We are lucky to have a full commercial kitchen. From day one, we offered pizza – other stuff too, but primarily pizza. Our head chef is Italian. They take pizza as seriously as we do our beer. We make our own dough using Caputo 00 flour, and use San Marzano tomatoes.
“This year we won best gastropub in Westmeath, and most innovative pub in Leinster last year.” Since reopening, they have been extremely busy. “People were suffering from cabin fever, so we are really struggling to keep up.”