By BRIAN MOORE
FOLLOWING Heineken’s admission that some of its beers were being sold incorrectly as ‘craft’ beers, the Food & Safety Authority (FSAI) has confirmed that a complaint was received from the West Cork area regarding an alleged ‘craft’ brew, and a file has been sent to the Health & Safety Authority (HSA).
Mystery now surrounds the identity of the brewer of a beer named ‘Beanntraí Bru’ which, it is alleged, was being described as a ‘locally-brewed’ craft beer, in a number of local licensed premises.
The beer was recently withdrawn from sale in at least one West Cork licensed premises.
However, five West Cork craft breweries have distanced themselves from the beer, saying they are keen to find out who is behind this so-called ‘local beer’ in West Cork.
‘I’m glad you are highlighting this, it’s not brewed by us or anyone that I know,’ said Gordon Lucey, brewery operations director at the White Deer Brewery in Ballyvourney. ‘We are proud to put our name on our tap badges, our beers are Stag Bán, Stag Rua, Saor and Black Lightning,’ he told The Southern Star, adding that he believed the Beanntrai Bru was not the only ‘false craft beer’ in the area.
The Southern Star contacted Diageo and Heineken over two weeks ago to enquire about the sale of ‘Beanntraí Bru’.
‘I can confirm that this product is not within the Diageo portfolio,’ Gillian Tulett of Diageo’s consumer relations dept said. However, no reply to our email requests, or to our phone calls, was received from Heineken headquarters in Cork city, before they issued their own statement on the matter last week.
‘This is happening more and more,’ said Jacqueline Stedman, food and drink educator and consultant at Liquid Curiosity in Bantry. ‘We have to know the provenance of these so called ‘craft beers’. This retailing of beer – or any other food product – under a ‘locally produced’ label, when clearly this is not the case, has to stop.’
The statement subsequently issued to all major media by Heineken Ireland said last week that it had ‘become aware that some of its low-volume high-quality draught products were being sold in a small number of outlets under different names. This is not Heineken Ireland’s policy and accordingly, this practice has been stopped.’
It added: ‘This should not have happened.’ Heineken has now appointed Grant Thornton to investigate the matter.
A reader told The Southern Star last week that when they enquired about the origins of Beanntrai Bru they were told by the bar staff in one local establishment that it was brewed ‘somewhere near Ahakista’.