Ireland Craft Beers

Blog

Ireland Craft Beers Pop-Up Bar at the Fleadh Cheoil 2015

Posted By Donal McLynn on August 28, 2015

It was a warm June weekend in one of London's busy bars in Dalston, the topic of choice - craft beer! As we enjoyed our drinks under the sun in the heart of Stoke Newington, a mixture of alcohol and day dreams induced the idea of creating a craft beer “pop-up” bar in the back garden of my family pub in Sligo town during the Fleadh Cheoil weekend.

Our mission was to educate the masses on Irish craft beer. For anyone that is reading this and asking what "Fleadh Cheoil" is or means, let me explain. "Fleadh Cheoil" is an Irish translation meaning “Music Festival”. An event where musicians, poets and singers compete for prizes and pride of place whilst lapping up the Irishness that comes with it. This event demonstrates everything that makes Ireland, Irish - an embodiment of traditional music, art, dance, song and poetry unique to a small island on the forefront of the Atlantic Ocean.

On this week each year, up to a half a million individuals converge on a chosen town to enjoy the sights and sounds of Ireland. I promise you - you will not find an event like this anywhere in the world. This was the perfect opportunity to display to the Irish public what Ireland Craft Beer has to offer!! Forward 2 months ahead on a Saturday night, in a haze of candle light, music, laughter and distinctive smell of an outdoor peat fire, I could have mistaken the scene for something not out of place in Shoreditch or Brooklyn.

Behind my makeshift pop up bar, I find myself confronted by a mass of people who have crammed themselves into every nook and cranny that this 120 year old pub was willing to surrender. A mob who found a new thirst for beer, but not just any beer. A drink crafted to the taste of a master brewer, where each note of flavour was by no mistake. These were the finest of Ireland’s craft beers, one’s which the long corporate tentacles of Diageo had not touched. Summer ales, Rye ales, Amber ales, Blonde beers, Stouts, Ciders and IPAS to beat the band.

Bottle after bottle opened to a never ending cauldron of eager patrons wanting to try "something different". My senses had difficulty keeping my rusty bar skills in check, along with all the emotions that came with it. Apprehension to the thought of not selling any craft beer at the beginning of the week was very quickly replaced with regret of not buying more. This was my third night running the bar and it was by far the busiest, people from all over had flocked to my DIY Irish craft beer bar, intrigued by the loud whispers that spoke of a hidden gem on Old Market Street.

Who were these people? These adventurous beer drinkers had discovered a revelation, and participated in Ireland’s beer revolution. These individuals, family, friends and strangers alike are the new generation of patrons that seek an alternative to the corporate beer barons! These people new and old came to taste and to learn, became thrilled, surprised, convinced and a few lingered that just wanted to get pissed - but all of them left with one thing in common... talking about the quality crafted beer from their local land.

From the very country we love to complain about, the question kept hanging, would the Irish weather be as forthcoming?? As Irish luck would have it, the gods were good, and the beer kept pouring, the music soaring and the craft drinkers purring for more. It was whirlwind fortnight in which I constructed my bar, drove the length and breadth of Ireland for the finest supply, and manned a possible sinking ship front of house, in the effort of making Ireland Craft Beers first pop-up bar an overwhelming success for all.

As far as emotions go, it was at 5am when the adrenaline weakened and dissipated along with the last of my drunken friends. Overwhelmed with a sense of pride, relief and exhaustion, I sat staring into the burning embers from a few hours previous which like me, was alive with fire. Sitting there absorbing every minute, I opened one last hidden craft bottle, for me - this was the one that tasted best!!

And me? I'm Donal, the Business Development Executive for Ireland Craft Beers Ltd. If you would like to get in touch or place an order, go to our contact page.

Sláinte