Big Beer, Small Batches – The Brewery of the Rising Sons Brewery, Cork City
Rising Sons Brewery is an independent family owned microbrewery, located in the heart of the Old Town in Cork City centre. Consisting of a brewpub, sports bar and a pizzeria, they currently employ 30 people on a full time basis. Producing approximately 2,500 hectolitres (over 528,000 pints of beer) per annum, their expansion plans are well under way.
In the last two years, they have won multiple International awards, in both the prestigious International Beer Challenge and The World Beer Awards, including 5 gold medals. Their Sunbeam lager was awarded Best Pale Lager in Ireland 2016 at the World Beer Awards. Crafted with love, innovation and rock n’ roll, they are committed to producing only the finest of beers and their multiple awards is testament to how rock n’ roll their beers really are.
We recently had the opportunity to interview both Judy Wilkins (General Manager) and Shane Murphy (Head Brewer) to fill us in on their success to date.
Judy has been involved in the hospitality industry both in bar and restaurant for a long number of years. “In January 2014 I was given an amazing opportunity to become part of a huge adventure, stemming from the rise of the craft beer industry in Ireland, resulting in the birth of Cork’s newest and finest microbrewery, Rising Sons.” She currently looks after the brewery, as well as their brew pub and De Calf cafe.
Shane has a background in construction, industry in which he ran his own business. “I always had a huge passion and commitment for brewing great beer and seeing the growth in the craft beer industry, I adapted my vast experience in management to our business of brewing”, he says, emphasizing his commitment to producing “the finest style and quality in beer.”
How did the Rising Sons Brewery begun?
Judy: “Rising Sons Brewery is a multi-award winning brewery and is located in The Old Town in the heart of Cork City centre. We are 100% Irish and family owned. We commissioned our first brew in June 2014 on site and our brew bar opened in July 2014. We wanted to reconnect to the huge tradition of brewing in Cork in days past. Secondly we wanted to meet the demand for local produce from both local and tourists alike and thirdly we wanted to bring manufacturing back into the city centre.”
Rising Sons currently produces a core range of seven beers, from crisp lager to hoppy IPA’s.
Midaza Irish stout – 4.3% ABV
Traditional Irish dry stout on nitro.
Hints of dark chocolate, coffee and a subtle smokiness
Sunbeam Irish Lager – 4.3 %
Brewed with a 100% pilsner malt, infused with Magnum and Tettnanger hops to give a crisp dry beer with a spicy bite.
Grainu Ale Belgian Wheat beer – 4.7%
A light refreshing, top fermenting ale, delivering a thirst quenching yeast-driven Belgian-style wheat ale.
Handsum IPA – 5%
An American-style pale ale, infused with three big American hops.
Flavours of citrus, pine, resin and fruit characters.
Steeple American amber – 4.5%
A slightly roasty big malt body balanced with Cascade and Columbus hops to give a malty hoppy amber beer.
Redemption Irish Red – 4.3%
Our take on a traditional Irish red. A biscuity, caramel, slightly sweet red ale with a big malt backbone
Changeling Pale Ale – 4.3%
Our ever-changing session pale ale, showcasing a variety of exciting, new and flavoursome hops.
“We also produce an array of seasonal specials and experimental beers. See our facebook page for current availability and upcoming beers”, Shane adds.
As a brewer, what is your definition of a great beer? What do you aim for?
Shane: “Firstly we strive at Rising Sons to produce only the highest quality and flavoursome beers. We are entirely customer focused in that we brew beers for people to enjoy. We listen to customer feedback in both Rising Sons and our sister bars and we brew accordingly.”
Shane explains that they’ve expanded their core range, from the original four to seven brews, “due to customer demand for particular styles and flavours.”
Repeat business and brand recognition is a true indicator of the great beers we produce.
Is there a connection between the brewery and Cork’s history?
Judy: “Much of our capacity remains in the Munster region due to the high demand from the Cork Heritage pubs and many local accounts. Arthur Maynes Dublin have been phenomenal in both showcasing and promoting our beers on the East coast. We are however to be found in many pubs ranging from Carlow to Limerick to Galway.”
Our Midaza stout is travelling as far afield as the USA where it can be found in a large supermarket chain as mussels in Midaza sauce.
Do you have any bottled or canned beer at the moment? If not, is that on the plans?
Judy: “We plan to have both bottle and can in the very near future as part of our expansion. We’ve done some small bottling batches, which were received to great acclaim by the public.”
Regarding the biggest challenge the brewery has had to overcome, Judy points out that “just like any microbrewery or new business, we have had to face the challenges of entering competitive markets in a country with an ever changing economy. We have faced these challenges head on by producing the finest of products.”
As a brewer, would you pass anything from your personality onto the beers you make?
Shane: “Where possible, we use the best of locally sourced ingredients bringing a sense of local and ‘Irishness’ to our beers.”
Rising Sons Brewery might be relatively new, but their adaptability and vision has made them stand out. Talking about what trends or innovations they are interested in at the moment, Judy mentions that “Irish craft beer has begun to mature and develop” and she adds that, while in the past “Ireland’s new breweries tended to follow worldwide trends, we have now begun to diversify and bring a sense of ourselves to our beer.”
Dubliners can enjoy these brews in Arthur Maynes Donnybrook, a versatile bar and restaurant from the same family that runs the eponymous Cork venue.
This friendly gastropub offers an eclectic menu with a distinctive Irish inspiration and a selection of flavourful small dishes and sharing platters.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.