Blazing a trail in Ireland with canned craft beer, Waterford company Metalman Brewing…
Blazing a trail in Ireland with canned craft beer, Waterford company Metalman Brewing is focusing on expansion and on exports. In January this year it became the first Irish microbrewery to set up a canning operation.
It now sells pale ale, wheat lager, and smoked porter in cans and on draught to more than 300 pubs and off licences around Ireland and has begun exporting to the UK and Italy.
The decision to can beer might be seen as brave, given that some people assume bottled beer to be of higher quality. But according to Metalman managing director Grainne Walsh, those people are mistaken. Metalman conducted extensive research on the bottle-versus-can issue before opting for cans.
“We discovered that we can get a better product on the shelf in a can. With cans you don’t have problems with deterioration of shelf life caused by light, and with a can you get a better seal than on a bottle,” she said.
Speaking of Metalmans success, Grainne Walsh said “When I set up the company some people seemed to think that the idea of a woman setting up a brewery was totally outlandish.”
Five years on though, Ms Walsh is running a company with growing sales and exports and a staff of seven.
Key events this year included the launch of cans of pale ale in January and two new products, Equinox wheat lager and Heatsink smoked porter in August. In March, Metalman sent its first shipment to a UK distributor which sells mainly in Northern Ireland, and in September began selling to Italy.
Increasing turnover by 40-50% a year, Ms Walsh is aiming to continue growing at this pace and to increase exports to 50% within five years. She is in discussions with a distributor in Scandinavia and is working on plans to grow sales in the UK and Italy.