​Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries & Distilleries) Act 2018

The recently introduced Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Act 2018 was finalised in September 2018.

The act will allow craft drinks producers to sell their own product at their manufacturing premises. There are limits to opening hours and those who sell alcohol for consumption on premises can do so only to customers who have taken a guided tour.

In order to avail of the licence types for which the act allows, breweries will need to make an application to the court.

View Intoxicating Liquor Act 2018

Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Act 2018

July 2018

The Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland (the trade representative organisation for Irish Independently owned microbreweries) want to express a huge thank-you to the government and  those who have (through the Breweries Bill) aimed to show their support for independent microbreweries and have recognised their contribution to our local communities as well as to “Brand Ireland” as a whole.

A most particular thanks goes to Alan Kelly TD and the Labour party for proposing the breweries bill as well as to all the many supporters of the bill across the parties. We have been genuinely gratified to see such real support for our businesses shown by members of the Dáil and though it is somewhat unfair to single out any more names given the overwhelming support shown, it would be remiss of us not to also mention the particular effort put in to the bill by independent TD’s Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

It is very important to  emphasise that there will still potentially be a lot of hurdles to overcome for many breweries to avail of the licence(s) in both time and cost and this will likely be prohibitive for a number of breweries.

We would not expect the licences to be issued this year and at best it will likely be 2019 when you may possibly be able to enjoy a pint at your local microbrewery, or stop by for a few bottles. However, we will work with the relevant authorities to try and ensure that the spirit of the bill which is to support Irish microbreweries is upheld.

Independent microbreweries have a small market share with less than 3% of the Irish beer market and face a very tough market atmosphere with ongoing pressure from our multinational counterparts with their vast marketing budgets. We welcome any concessions to our sector such as the breweries bill which could help us to communicate our story to consumers and build our local markets, importantly the new arrangement will help with the development of beer tourism where the welcome strategies and supports put in place by Fáilte Ireland can now be built upon.

What The Act will Mean?

Subject to the successful application for a licence and the associated certifications which will likely have to accompany this; this bill will allow for:

Breweries to sell their own beer for consumption on-site to those who have taken a tour of the brewery and/or to sell their own beer on-site for customers to take away from the premises whether a tour has taken place or not.

There are some clear time restrictions for the sale, in the main between 10am & 7pm (excepting certain restrictions for Christmas Day and in keeping with other Off License time restrictions for opening)

Current Status of The Act

The bill  passed through the Seanad on Wednesday 11th July and was subsequently signed in to law by the president. On 3rd September Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan signed the commencement order for the act.

Breweries Bill Alan Kelly_ICBI

A Thank-you Pint!

Supporters of the bill gathered in The Porterhouse Central in Dublin at 6.30pm on Wednesday 11th July.

This was our go raibh míle maith agaibh from the Independent Brewers of Ireland to all those who have worked to make this bill a reality.


Purpose of Bill
Many distilleries and breweries, including micro-breweries, are tourist attractions and welcome visitors on guided tours. Under the Licencing Acts, however, unless the owners acquire a pub licence or an off-licence, it is not possible to sell those visitors the product that is made on the premises.

The purpose of this short Bill is to rectify that situation by permitting the sale by distilleries and breweries of their own product to tourists and other visitors. The Bill also covers the making of cider and perry.

Provisions of Bill
Section 1 provides that, where beer is brewed, spirits are distilled or cider or perry is made, in accordance with the appropriate licence, on premises to which visitors are admitted on guided tours, the Revenue Commissioners shall, on application grant a licence under this section.

Such a licence authorises the sale to such visitors of the beer brewed, spirits distilled or the cider or perry made on those premises, but no other intoxicating liquor, for consumption on or off those premises. Sales may take place only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on any day other than Good Friday or Christmas Day.

A licence holder who sells intoxicating liquor at the premises concerned otherwise than in accordance with that licence is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a Class A fine.

A licence granted under this section revokes any existing licence granted under the Licensing Acts relating to the premises, e.g., a publican’s licence or an off-licence.

Section 2 provides that certain provisions of the Licencing Acts relating to exemption orders, occasional licences and other non-applicable provisions do not apply to licences under this section.

Section 3 provides in standard form for the short title and the collective citation and construction of the Act.

Alan Kelly TD
November, 2016