An Irish brewery and a local politician are pushing for stricter legislation after it emerged a company that produces a popular local beer is making illegal beer for overseas customers.
Key points:The brewer is owned by a British man, who is also the owner of a nearby breweryIt is a case of the brewing industry in Ireland being “too big and too successful” for the current laws to hold up, an expert saysThe Government has already introduced measures to address the problem, but some are questioning the wisdom of its approachSome of the concerns include a requirement that beer made in Ireland be tested for alcohol content before being sold, and a limit of five litres a person per transaction.
The brewer, L’Orca, has been brewing beer in the UK for nearly 50 years, and is one of several small craft brewers operating in the country.
Its brewery, L.R.R., is located in the seaside town of Dun Laoghaire.
The brewery, which was founded in 1891, employs about 100 people.
In 2016, the company bought a building in the town which it uses for its brewery.
The purchase was approved by the local council, and the local authorities licensing committee approved a new brewer licence.
The new brewer is allowed to sell its product at its Dun Laighain premises.
However, in December, the brewery’s licence was revoked after it was revealed that the brewery was using imported beers for its own products.
The council said it had no reason to believe that L’R.L.R.’s products were being sold in breach of the licence, and that the brewer had complied with the terms of the brewer licence and any other terms agreed by the council.
However in a letter to the local authority, the brewer said it did not have a licence and was “currently in discussions” with the council about an alternative licence.
L’Orcea, which owns the brewery and has operations in several other parts of Ireland, is owned and operated by a man named Paul MacGregor, who has lived in Dun Laightain for decades.
It is believed that Mr MacGregore is a British citizen who is currently living in Ireland, but did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr MacGregors family did not return calls for comment yesterday.
A source with knowledge of the situation told the Irish Times the brewery had been operating for 50 years.
“There’s been a lot of legal wrangling in the brewing sector in the last 10 years,” the source said.
“It’s really not a case where the law has changed overnight.”
In fact, it’s a case that’s been around for 50-plus years.
It’s very difficult to do that.
It seems to be a case not of the Irish brewing industry, but of the British brewing industry.
“I think the Irish industry has been too big and has been in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The brewer has also been accused of paying bribes to local officials, and has reportedly received a £6.7 million (€7.4 million) bribe from the town of Co Galway to secure approval of a licence for its production in the city.
The brewery was also granted permission to sell beer in Ireland under the current legal framework, which is due to expire at the end of the month.
The legislation, which comes into force from 1 January 2019, makes it a criminal offence to import, supply or sell beer that is made in Irish territory, and carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The government has already made a number of changes to the brewing laws, including restricting the sale of beer to five litres for one person per sale.
However the new brewer’s licence does not come into effect until January 2021, and there are concerns about the viability of the legislation in practice.
The Government is due in Dublin on Tuesday to give the green light for a review of the law.