Nestled at the base of the majestic Conor Pass in the old creamery building, this small craft brewery is located just on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Dingle, Co. Kerry. Now sensitively converted to its new use, the old creamery building makes an atmospheric Visitor Centre where you can hear all about the brewing process, in which the use of the site’s own pure spring water is crucial, and the history of the creamery itself, which dates back to 1888 and was at the heart of Dingle commercial life until the 1970s.
Dingle Brewing Company opened its doors in July 2011, producing Tom Crean’s Fresh Irish Lager. It’s is a joint enterprise between local businessman Jerry O’Sullivan and Kildare publicans Joe and Nigel Flanagan. The lager is now being poured in 14 outlets throughout Dublin and various select pubs and restaurants in Kildare, Killarney, Cork and, of course, Dingle. In fact, the pubs in Dingle are now selling numerous kegs of Crean’s a week and it’s outselling products from the much larger, more established breweries. Within three months of release, the lager won the inaugural Hot Press ‘Golden Bottle Opener Award’ for the best drink brewed in Ireland and one year after opening, they were already operating at maximum capacity.
The brewery has big plans for the future, as they aim to bring their beer to international markets. As such, the next phase sees the purchase of additional fermenting vessels and an increase in output, from the current 2,000 litres a day to 2,000 kegs a day. Rollout of this phase will be at a faster pace than stage one, as the lager is being actively sought after by publicans, hotel and restaurant owners. Rather than go to the banks for the financing to expand, 10% of the company has been made available to the public through the issue of ‘D’ shares. To purchase shares of the brewery, you can request an application form on the brewery website.
You can also take a self-guided tour of the brewery. Since it’s a small operation you could quite possibly meet the brewer himself and have a chat. Either way (assuming you’re over 18), you’ll get a sample of their Tom Crean’s Lager, named in honour of the local Antarctic hero (see South Pole Inn, Annascaul) – a clean, refreshing drink to enjoy in the traditional cottage or, on fine summer days, in their outdoor beer garden.
Tom Crean’s Fresh Irish Lager is available on tap and in bottle at selected outlets throughout the country. Self-guided tour and sample pint of Tom Crean’s, EUR 6.