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Burren publican brews his own

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Peter Curtin in his microbrewery at the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna. Photograph by Declan MonaghanWITH about a pub a day estimated to be closing across the country, one North Clare vintner has come up with some novel ways to keep the wolf from the door, while attracting customers through it.
Peter Curtin of The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna, has set up his own microbrewery, his own pub loyalty club with card and is challenging members of his newly established club to spin a wheel of fortune to find out if they get discounted drink or have to contribute to charity.
The wheel, which is being specially made, will decide how much club members pay for the newly brewed range of Burren beers, Burren Black (stout), Burren Red (ale) and Burren Gold, (lager).
The wheel will have a €4 segment, a €3.50 segment, a €3 segment amongst others as well as a euro symbol, which indicates that the customer pays the regular price as well as €1 to a local charity.
“We are the first pub in Ireland with a loyalty club and I think we are the first in the world where you spin a wheel to decide the price of a pint,” Mr Curtin stated.
The Lisdoonvarna publican first had the idea of brewing his own beer some years ago but he revisited it again earlier this year. But it is not a quick process. As well as getting the equipment in place, learning the processes and finding the right recipes, the brewing itself takes time.
“Brewing the ale or stout takes approximately eight to 10 weeks, while the lager takes about 12 to 14 weeks. It is labour intensive. I think it is fair to say 90% of it is hygiene and sanitation and following strictly the recipes and the rules,” he explains.
While there are numerous challenges in brewing one’s own beer, the North Clare businessman is confident that the venture will work.
“It is difficult to say how much we will sell because it is only being launched. You have to bear in mind that this is the smallest microbrewery in Ireland and I would suspect that it would remain the smallest. It is about half the normal commercial size for a microbrewery and I am only brewing for the pub, not anywhere else,” Mr Curtin outlines.
“A demand for new brews is really flowering in Ireland at the moment. There is an average of four to five microbreweries opening each year at the moment. The Burren Brewery is possibly about number 15,” he outlines.
“There has been a 30% decline in business over the past five years here but that would be in line with industry standards. This is our answer to the declining trade. We are coming out and saying we are here for the long haul,” Mr Curtin concluded.
The Burren Brewery, its beers and its loyalty club launches at The Roadside Tavern at 3pm in a musical celebration incorporating bands Sons of Gingerbread, A Band Called Wanda, The Rye and Katet on July 24.


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