Small beer: Irish craft breweries battle for survival as drinkers stay loyal to big brands

While it had been believed that the public’s appetite for craft beer would return after the pandemic, the battle with big brands for market share means many microbreweries are now facing consolidation or closure

Gráinne Walsh and Tim Barber, co-owners of Metalman Brewing Co in Waterford city: while Metalman was a labour of love for the husband-and-wife team, running a craft brewery was full-on. Picture: Patrick Browne

In the end, it was surprisingly easy for Gráinne Walsh and Tim Barber to walk away when they made the decision.

Having spent more than a decade building Metalman Brewing in Waterford into one of Ireland’s best-known craft breweries, the decision to sell up their facility to Dublin-based brewery Hopfully last March and close the business came with no regrets.

“There are still a few loose ends to tidy up, but it’s liberating. We’re taking some time out to relax. We were happy with what we’d done over the years we put into it. It was great to get feedback from people telling us they were sorry to see us go,” Walsh told the Business Post.