Molson Coors purchases Cork-based craft beer brand & micro-brewery

Molson Coors UK & Ireland has bought the Franciscan Well craft beer brand and micro-brewery in Cork City in Ireland, and will be developing a new 75,000HL (150,000 keg) craft brewery this year in Cork. This is the first development from its new Emerging Markets & Craft Beer unit, set up to oversee its interests in craft beer in both countries.

These investments are central to Molson Coors Ireland’s plans to build a strong share in the burgeoning craft beer market as well as a significant Irish craft-beer export business to international markets. Craft beer is expected to grow from €24 million to approximately €235 million in retail sales value (c.10%) of the Irish beer market by 2017.

Molson Coors UK & Ireland’s Emerging Markets & Craft Beer division, headed by Niall Phelan, brings together its Scottish and Irish businesses alongside its growing portfolio of domestically produced and leading international craft beers. This includes Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall which brews Doom Bar, the fastest growing top 50 beer brand in the UK on premise, and William Worthington’s Micro Brewery in Burton-upon-Trent that brews the multi-award winning White Shield.

Molson Coors Ireland will expand Franciscan Well’s existing range of brands and its overall annual brewing capacity in Cork from 2,000HL (4,000 kegs) up to 75,000HL (150,000 kegs) per annum. While the existing brewery will remain, the additional capacity will be on a new site in Cork which is expected to be operational later this year. The objective will be to export more than half of the expanded Franciscan Well Brewery’s output to markets such as the UK, Canada and the US, where there is strong interest in Irish craft beers and whiskys.