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Something Brewing in Kilkenny

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Something Brewing in Kilkenny

Something Brewing in Kilkenny
September 14
09:33 2016

Beer brewing is being revived in Kilkenny again, with Sullivan’s Brewing Company behind the renaissance.  First established in 1702, the Sullivan brewing name was once the biggest of its kind in Kilkenny but fell into abeyance in the last century. The brand is now being resurrected by the legendary Smithwick brewing family, who retained control of the name to this day and are now behind its relaunch.

As well as brewing, Sullivan’s will open their own Taproom, a visitor centre and microbrewery on John Street, Kilkenny’s main social thoroughfare. “The Sullivan’s family tradition of brewing stems back to 1702 when they opened their doors on James Street to become Kilkenny’s first commercial brewery. We’ve made it our mission to resurrect the lost art of real Irish brewing in its rightful home – Kilkenny,” says Paul Smithwick, chairman of Sullivan’s Brewing Company.

While the Smithwick and Sullivan families were always close – being neighbours and connected by politics, marriage, as well as socially, they were business competitors, and it’s an interesting tale as to how Smithwick’s came to acquire its biggest rival.  An errant member of the Sullivan family bet and lost the entire business on a horse race in 1918 and the demise of the business quickly followed.  The Smithwick’s subsequently rescued the workforce and subsumed operations into their own brewery, thus retaining the rights to the brand name.

sullivansbrewing2september2016The first beer from the revived Sullivan’s Brewing Company is Maltings Red Ale (4% abv).  It’s refreshingly balanced, ruby tinted classic Irish ale with a depth of malt flavour giving rich biscuit and gentle caramel notes. Traditionally brewed with only Kilkenny-grown ale malt, including three special darker malts and three varieties of hop. Fermented and matured with cask ale yeast and coupled with our no-rush brewing produces a smooth balanced classic ale.

Paul Smithwick adds: “The beer we craft today is inspired by traditional Kilkenny recipes and brewed the way the family has always brewed – the way real Irish beer should be brewed – by local experts, by hand, in small batches, with enormous heart and the finest locally sourced ingredients.”

Sullivan’s Brewing Company CEO Alan Quane is suitably enthusiastic about the brand: “The company’s mission is to bring back brewing to Kilkenny and my role is to elevate this and create a  brand-led business to address the needs of the ‘next wave’ of craft beer drinkers, the ones that we’ve seen come into and grow the beer category in the US, UK and Australian markets.”


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