We sat down with Galway Bay Brewery Operations Manager Andy Byrne to discuss the opening of their new bar Beer Traders in Dun Laoghaire, the launch of their 10% Teeling Whiskey barrel aged Imperial Stout on March 3rd in The Gasworks, and the breweries future.
What made you decide to open up a new bar so soon after The Gasworks?
Well this opportunity actually came up a while ago. We were going to open this bar last year but there were a couple of issues with the building itself so it was put back. Like Dublin Bus, none came along, and then two came together. It wasn’t a conscious decision opening them so closely, it’s just the way it happened.
There seems to be more of an effort to have your bars outside of the city centre now, for example The 108 in Rathgar, The Gasworks in Grand Canal and now Beer Traders in Dun Laoghaire, what was your thinking behind this?
The 108 in Rathgar, I know the area very very well, it’s a brilliant area. It came up through a friend of a friend. It wasn’t a conscientious decision to open outside the city centre, it just happened. If you know of any bars bang in the city centre we’ll take one of them as well!
What’s going to be on draught for Beer Traders launch?
It’s quite a small draught selection compared to other bars, we have 19 taps. Normally, like in Against the Grain, we have twice that. This one is mainly focusing on Galway Bay products, we have 11 of our beers pouring, over half of the taps are Galway Bay, we are pushing the best brewery in Ireland! That’s where we’re going with it.
How would you describe Beer Traders? What do you feel makes for the perfect craft beer bar?
It’s a beautiful little cosy warm and comfortable local bar. The perfect craft beer bar should have a brilliant selection of products being served by people that aren’t pretentious about it. Beer Traders has the fundamentals of great service that a good pub should have but with better products.
You’re launching this year’s 200 Fathoms at The Gasworks, what made you choose there over Beer Traders?
We didn’t think we would have Beer Traders open in time plus The Gasworks has a 5 times bigger capacity. We envision the launch being very very busy. The last time we launched 200 Fathoms it was massive so Beer Traders wouldn’t be able to take it.
What should we expect from the 200 Fathoms launch?
The brewers have a couple of surprises in store, and the guys from Teelings themselves will be there too. Our current head brewer Chris Treanor, who’s heading off to Switzerland, and our incoming new head brewer Will Avery from Atlanta will be there too. It will be something special.
For me, 200 Fathoms is Ireland’s best beer, how did all the GBB staff feel about it?
A lot of people think the same! Everybody at Galway Bay loves it, it’s a fantastic beer, something that has been toyed around with a couple of times in Ireland before, but in my opinion nobody has done such a strong barrel aged beer correctly. Its perfection, they’ve done a brilliant job with it.
Will we ever see a coffee version of it?
Like you said, you’ve got a new head brewer from America taking over, who has a very impressive resume of beers, what should we expect from him in the future once he settles in?
He certainly has, I picked him up from the airport at 5 o’clock in the morning! He has an absolute fountain of knowledge and he’s beer crazy. The brewery is growing at a rapid pace, he’s going to continue that, get behind that. He told me he’s big into his barrel aging and barley wines so he’s going to bring that side to the brewery while he continues to maintain the standards that Chris has already set up. The beers will remain as good and we will keep the core range, but he will experiment with some intriguing stuff, he has some brilliant ideas.
I see you’ve got a beer collaboration between Chris and Will, can you shed some light on that?
I’m told not to say anything, I know it’s going to be spectacular, and will definitely be a first.
There’s been a lot of new beers made during Chris’s time at Galway Bay, which one was your favourite or which felt the most important to the brewery and why?
Goodbye Blue Monday, I drank my own body weight in that! Sadly it’s being discontinued so get it while you can. Of Foam and Fury was a landmark because it won Beer of the Year a couple of times and it’s spectacular. I’d imagine for the brewers that Of Foam and Fury and 200 Fathoms probably stood out for them. Of Foam and Fury has been the number one seller and it’s in such a competitive sector as everybody is doing pale ales now, yet that remains the best and biggest seller in our bars. It’s a big testament to the beer.
You’ve hired a brand ambassador, what will that role consist of?
It will be her job to promote the products in our bars, other bars and off licenses around the country. She’s basically pushing the brand and the products.
Are we going to see Galway Bay exporting their beers to foreign markets?
They do, we export to a lot of countries, we send a few bits and bobs to the UK here and there. The long term plan is to break into the United States.
Finally, what should we expect from GBB in the future?
No more bars please god! Only joking, we probably will open more bars. I’m going on my holidays at the end of the month, once I get them out of the way I’ll get back into the swing of things.
Yes, we will open more bars, and yes we will keep producing the best beers in Ireland. That sounds very very cocky, but I believe that we are at the moment, and this new brewer will really really cement that. More bars and more super beers!
To make your Wednesday even better, Beer Traders will be offering each person a free pint of Galway Bay beer from their core range from 5-7pm. The bar is located at 75 York Road and is a short walk from Dun Laoghaire dart station. Perfect!