Craft beer has been growing in popularity in Ireland over the last decade with craft breweries popping up all over Ireland. Brother and sister team Michael Eustace and Maeve Sheridan saw a niche in the market and felt that their home county of Clare was without a microbrewery long enough. It was late 2014 when they set about converting an old farm shed in Kilmaley into what is now the home of Western Herd Brewing Company. “It has been a long time in the planning since myself and Michael first considered the idea” said Maeve. "We are now delighted to brew our own range of beers and by the response from local bars, shops and restaurants."
Maeve and Michael came up with the idea of setting up a craft brewery in Clare over a few beers at home one Christmas. Maeve was working in Luxembourg at the time and made the decision to pack bags and move the family home. It was a big decision but it was the right one.
Michael, a civil engineer by trade, had to look to other industries during the recession and took work managing a busy bar in Dublin. It was there that he saw how the craft beer market was taking off in Ireland and as an avid home brewer, he wanted to be a part of it.
The farm has been in our family for 8 generations so we really wanted to do something with it. The shed itself is nearly 100 years old so it's great to see industry back on the farm.
Western Herd currently brew 4 different styles of beer so there really is something for every taste and palette. It was really important to us to have a strong Clare connection so every beer has a different part of the Clare coastline on the label and the names reflect the cultural heritage of our county.
This project had been 2 years in the planning before we brewed anything. Before we did anything, we met with the Local Enterprise Office in Clare and they could see that there was an opportunity here also which gave us confidence to move forward. After completing the Food Academy training programme in partnership with the LEO and SuperValu we were offered a contract to supply SuperValu. The individual shops really got behind our products and the support has been invaluable. We regularly hold tasting evenings which allow us to meet our customers face to face, tell them our story and explain what we are doing. We also get direct feedback from our customers which helps us grow and come up with new products to suit the local market. SuperValu are very active on social media and amplify our message through their extensive customer network helping us reach a broader audience.
The company now employs 5 people locally and plan to expand in the very near future.