A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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The Beer Nut -

It's far from entirely new: Diageo have been shipping concentrated wort ("Guinness essence") out of Waterford to their breweries abroad for years.

Alan -

First reaction: Hokey Kabokey!!!!

Second reaction: So if Diageo told them to jump off a bridge would they do that, too?

Third reaction: I think the Guinness essence is a different thing, isn't it. It is concentrated wort but is would represent a smaller portion of the overall wort that this method... or at least that is the implication. I understood that in the good old days, the bottled Guinness we got here in Canada was Labatt 50 with a syrup added to give it the alleged Guinnessness. Widget cans around 20 years ago did away with that.

Tony Davies -


Greetings from Ireland, though I'm actually bringing beer to the masses in Nevada at the moment!

Thanks for the review. I wanted to share some facts about why we do what we do and how we do it. I rarely write in blogs, but I realized that we need to explain a bit more about our reasons for working the way we do. I hope this is not too long!

Firstly, I want to address the comment about George Thompson. I'd like to include a mention about his years of experience as a brewer/head brewer/master brewer at Mansfield Brewery, Watneys and Bellhaven amongst others. Master Brewer is a recognized title and George, as an internationally recognized brewer and judge of beers, does deserve better than your mention. Being the laid back character he is, he probably wouldn’t have reacted to your comments. I’m very protective of the SLBC family.

I know our business model is different, but believe me it is a carefully crafted business and technical strategy rather than a random idea. I spent many years working in the strategy business and we spent years developing this approach. We tried and were not happy with many other alternatives. We need to provide quality authentic Irish beer and stay in business. Our approach does that. Interestingly it has nothing to do with the Guinness approach.

With respect to the wort, wort travels better than beer in bottles! Wort has a higher osmotic pressure (thick gluey substances) than beer and once sealed correctly it will not go off and is good for about a year. If anything is sloshing around it is more likely to be beer, once you add water into the mix and put it through a series of non controlled journeys a large percentage of bottled beer does not reach the destination in the best condition. This might make you wonder where some of the imported beer in USA really comes from?

All water used for rehydration is neutral i.e. nothing is being added to the wort. In this way what you get is original Irish ingredients rehydrated. So you can rehydrate anywhere in the world and you’ll get the same taste, avoiding the large variances in taste you get with other ‘imports’. Many European beers in USA are very different than those we drink in Europe.

Early hops are already in the wort, we supply late hops and yeast with the wort.

As you'd expect from a strategy consultant, the business model makes excellent sense. I don’t want to go into in too much detail but we don’t ship masses of beer bottles, the major weight in a beer consignment, many of which have already been imported into Ireland! We are GREEN in more than one sense of the word. Critically for us the bottles, labels, labour etc. are all in local currency, so we are better able to deal with the crazy swings in currency fluctuations. Finally, the beer is fresher! Irish beer at an affordable price.

I hope this information is helpful. I'm not a great dancer so I fear the Holey Kabokey is beyond me!

btw your website checker doesn't allow .ie extensions, which is the extension used by businesses on the Island of Ireland.

Kind regards.

Tony Davies
MD, Strangford Lough Brewing Company.

Alan -

Fabulous information, Tony! Thanks for that and I do mean I like the beer. Not being facetious at all. I don't like "turnkey solutions" but I like that beer. Your comments are equally most welcome.

Sorry. I don't know what Irish for "Hokey Kabokey" is... maybe yowie-kazowie. Just an exclamation of surprise at the Irish Beer Nut's knowledge. But t does sound like you are not doing "Guinness syrup" at all.

Provide any more information you like. Send links and I will pretty them up.

Bailey -

Nice to see a brewer responding in such detail. I definitely read your post as admiring but confused. Now you're admiring and presumably less confused. Result for Tony.

Alan -

Exactly - and happily so. Looking forward to the three left in the fridge.

The Beer Nut -

I wasn't for a moment suggesting that SLBC were somehow copying Diageo or their way of working. They're both doing the same thing and doing it for obvious economic reasons: shipping water is expensive. I guess there's also an issue around creating alcohol, and the variety of nasty tax and licencing implications it brings. Technology now allows any local water profile to be recreated anywhere in the world. Though it's odd that "neutral" water is being used, since water profile is a vital part of any beer's character. I suppose because this beer has never been brewed in Ireland there's nothing to recreate.

I'm curious to taste these, if only they were available in the Republic of Ireland. Any chance, Tony?

Tony Davies -

We use neutral water because our process of extracting the liquid leaves the minerals and salts etc. in the wort, therefore we don't need to add anything further. The beer has been brewed in County Down. Our analysis of whats in our water is unparalleled thanks to our Department of Agriculture!

We have a distribution agreement with Fourcorners Marketing Ltd in Dublin, who supply the Republic of Ireland with SLBC beer. We have actually just signed exclusive distribution rights over to them for ROI, you can view the press release on our website from 7th July for more info. If you would like to contact info@slbc.ie we can provide you with their contact details.

Kind regards.

Tony Davies
MD, Strangford Lough Brewing Company.

The Beer Nut -

Cheers Tony. I'll keep an eye out.