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Beer trio taps into town's brewing past

May 6th, 2016 4:54 PM

By Southern Star Team

Frank overseeing the brewing process for his (inset) ale in Clonakilty. (Photo: Emma Jervis)

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By Kate Ryan 

THREE entrepreneurs are bringing the brewing tradition back to Clonakilty for the first time since 1948.  

Frank Fredriksen, Don Collins and Joan Harrington are all craft beer enthusiasts keen to get a slice (or drop!) of the current trend in craft beers.

Frank arrived in Clonakilty from Norway two-and-a-half years ago with his family and a dream to swap accountancy for brewing.  

‘I have always had a fondness for craft beer and began with homebrew kits in my kitchen and moved soon to a garage,’ he told The Southern Star

‘I was getting great feedback and eventually it started to feel like I could make it work as a proper brewing business,’ said Frank.

Clonakilty Brewing Company (or ‘ClonBrew’ for short) is aiming to launch its Tojo American Pale Ale (5.5% abv) and Smuggler Irish Porter (6% abv) in time for the start of summer.  

And having just received their licence to brew from Revenue, and each batch taking six weeks to complete from brewing to drinking, the pressure is on to be ready for Clonakilty’s thirsty revellers.

Since the business began in September 2013, these start-up entrepreneurs have been working hard to refine the recipes whilst hunting for the perfect spot to set up shop in Clonakilty. 

The project is supported by a number of investors and grant funding from the LEO for Cork North and West. Together, they have turned this garage brewery into a fully-fledged commercial micro-brewery situated in Clogheen Industrial Park, just off the Clonakilty by-pass.  

The site was chosen primarily because of an on-site well, meaning that their water is pure and free from the harsh chemicals present in the public water supply.  

Frank said that having a well onsite is a great asset as water is such an important part of the beer making process. ‘A pure tasting water will allow the full flavour and aroma of the grains and hops to really shine through.’

Taking their inspiration from Clonakilty’s quirky local history – from a monkey in a wartime aircraft (Tojo Pale Ale) to the notorious Deasy family of smugglers-turned-brewers (Smugglers Irish Porter) – Clonakilty Brewing Company is also able to provide speciality brews for special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. 

‘We have a small brew-kettle for recipe development and also where we can create micro batches of handcrafted beer tailor-flavoured for special occasions.  We can even create unique labels to complete the personal touch,’ Frank epxlained.

Clonakilty Brewing Company is following in the footsteps of the mighty Deasy & Co famed for its stouts, amber ale and the famous Clonakilty Wrastler porter.  

Closure of the brewhouse in 1948 saw the demise of nearly 200 years of brewing, the end of an era that saw Clonakilty nicknamed The Brewery Town.  

Where once the brewery was the largest employer in Clonakilty, ClonBrew for now will be handcrafting their brown-bottled nectar with a staff of just three dedicated and enthusiastic people, but with high hopes of growing quickly.  And with Clonakilty’s reputation for supporting local and artisan food producers, no doubt the town will be ready to embrace its Brewery Town moniker once again.   

For news of their June launch, follow ClonBrew on Facebook and Twitter or www.clonakiltybrew.ie 

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