New craft beer law would allow breweries to sell beer on site

Alan Kelly proposes new legislation which would offer ‘huge tourism potential’

Craft Beer on the shelves of Martin’s off licence in Fairview, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Craft Beer on the shelves of Martin’s off licence in Fairview, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Labour TD Alan Kelly has proposed new legislation allowing breweries and distilleries to sell their products on their premises.

Currently breweries and distilleries cannot offer visitors and tourists the opportunity to taste their product on site.

Mr Kelly’s proposed Bill would lift that restriction and would include time restrictions and will ensure they only sell their own products.

He said: “This is a growing industry. Ireland’s microbreweies employ 439 full time workers and have a turnover of 59 million this year.

“It is an industry that has huge tourism potential. Can you imagine if you were in Spain, Italy and Portugal and visiting a vineyard and you cannot purchase wine at the end of the tour?”

The legislation will include a clause preventing license holders from applying from the the exemptions pubs and clubs can avail of.

There are up to 90 microbreweries operating in Ireland and the sector has been a tourist attraction.

Mr Kelly said this was about ensuring the visitor has an experience similar to those who visit the Guinness Storehouse or the Jameson Distillery.

He said: “Many of these distilleries, breweries and microbreweries are also major tourist attractions that welcome visitors and offer guided tours, and owners say there is a substantial demand for craft-beer tasting on site.

“However, the ability to fully capitalise on this potential for ‘craft-beer tourism’ is being hampered by current licensing regulations, which require producers to have a pub license or an off-licence to sell their produce, made on site, to tourists and visitors.”