The land that gave the world Guinness is soon to be flowing with one of Atlanta’s most famous hometown brews.
Sweetwater Brewing Co. is readying its 420 IPA, Georgia Brown, Blue and Hash Session beers to be distributed in Ireland just in time for the arrival of another hometown favorite: Georgia Tech, whose football team plays Boston College Sept. 2 in a much-hyped contest that will take thousands of Atlantans to Dublin. It will be Sweetwater’s first foray into the international market, a rare play for craft brewers that pride themselves on local flavor and are often limited to regional footprints.
Sweetwater wrote in a blog post that it’s aiming to fix a perceived shortage of American-style craft brews around the Irish capital, where the beers will be sold at 100 top craft retailers and on draft at many pubs.
A launch event is to be held Aug. 31 at Trinity College Dublin, the official tailgating venue for the football game known as the Aer Lingus Classic thanks to sponsorship by the country’s national airline.
Sweetwater’s on-the-ground partner, Rye River Brewing Co., said it’s shipping the beer directly from the Atlanta brewery to Ireland and will have it available Sept. 1 during the festivities surrounding the game.
“SweetWater is hands down one of the best breweries in the States and we’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to partner with Rye River Brewing Company for distribution in Ireland,” said Rye River’s co-founder, Alan Wolfe. “The quality of the beers SweetWater are turning out will be a game changer in this country – couple that with the fact the beer will be insanely fresh and it means that SweetWater and Rye River Brewing Company will be raising the bar for imported craft beer in Ireland.”
Mr. Wolfe underscored the demand for American craft beers in the international market and especially in Ireland, a country of 4.2 million people with strong ties to the U.S. Rye River cited The Brewers Association in pointing out that exports of craft brews grew 16.3 percent to $116 million in 2015.
Global Atlanta hosted Irish Consul General Shane Stephens as part of its Consular Conversations series on Aug. 17. The diplomat, who is preparing for a flurry of business activity around the football game, said an Irish “love affair” with all things American has made the sport a natural bridge between the two countries. Apparently that applies to beer as well.