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[DUBLIN, Ireland] – The International Craft Brewing and Distilling Convention inspired hearts and minds with an impressive craft brewing and distilling educational programme last weekend from 18 – 20 of July.
The Convention kicked off with the fabulous fusion of Kentucky bluegrass and Irish traditional music for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour on the 18th of July, a concert attended by almost 2,000 people, who sang and clapped along with artists such as Mary Black, Paul Brady and We Banjo 3. It was the first internationally held event for the radio show, which regularly broadcasts on more than 500 radio stations globally and on U.S. public television nationally.
Friday exceeded expectations with more than 800 people passing through the doors of the Expo – a huge forum covering all aspects of brewing and distilling from equipment and yeast selection, to pairing the final product. Attendees entered through a giant wooden barrel, where they watched a cutting-edge LED sphere playing the history of craft brewing and savoured the smells of hops and malts. They sampled international craft beers and chatted with the brewers at the 26 metre Craft Beer Market that showcased beers from breweries including O’Hara’s, Früh, Hardknott, Jever, Great Heck, Metalman, Thornbridge and Beavertown. Paired with these fantastic beers were cheeses from Sheridans Cheesemongers, smoked salmon from Wrights of Howth, crisps from Keogh’s and breads from Bretzel Bakery. Delicious samples of cooked meals weaved their way through the crowd, tempting attendees with the smells of Lyons Farm™ beef, Farmers to Market chicken and Truly Irish pork.
In the centre of the Expo was the Pavilion Bar, dispensing Alltech’s range of beers and spirits to thirsty guests. Brews included the newly released Kentucky® IPA, Kentucky® Bourbon Barrel Stout and the flagship Kentucky® Bourbon Barrel Ale. A sensory lounge allowed experienced brewers, home brewers and beer and spirit enthusiasts to taste whiskey, bourbon and beers, to learn more about proper tasting and the impact of different ingredients on flavour profiles.
Everyone, from seasoned brewers to those who just enjoy a pint at the weekend, learned something and more than a few were inspired to start brewing themselves – if the crowd at the National Homebrew Club stand was anything to go by.
For those interested in starting a brewery, advice was on hand from Alltech president and founder Dr. Pearse Lyons who told his own story about how he had come full circle from an early beginning in brewing and distilling, to animal health and nutrition, and back to his passion, brewing. He encouraged people to lead, noting the incredible potential for job creation in the brewing and distilling industries. He ended by saying, “don’t get it right, get it going.”
Mark Lyons, vice president Alltech, also gave an eye-opening presentation on the potential markets in China. “Twenty years ago beer in China was a foreign experience,” he explained. “Now, China has grown to become the largest beer market in the world, with the Chinese consuming one in four beers produced globally.” This is why, he said, “the future is here and it’s called China.”
On the final day, Alltech was proud to announce the recipients of the awards for Outstanding Service in Brewing and Distilling – Graham Stewart; and Lifetime Achievement in Craft Distilling – Bill Owens. Both men have spent many years honing their craft in the industry while inspiring younger brewers to do the same.
In addition, Hilden Brewing Company’s Twisted Hop garnered the top honour at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup, beating out more than 100 other entries to earn the cup. Hilden Brewing Company is Ireland’s oldest independent brewery and its Twisted Hop brew is a bitter premium pale ale. The winner was announced along with 69 other gold, silver and bronze medal winners from all over the world. The full list is available here.