Sunday Video Feature: Brewing beer in Roscommon, with almost 95% Irish ingredients!


The Black Donkey Brewery has been in operation since 2014, meaning it is only three and a half years in existence.

Founded by Richard Sibberry and his wife, upon their return to Ireland, following a stint in the US. Richard gained an interest in brewing, having first tried his hand at forestry, engineering, fishing, editing and camera work. He first began brewing in his garage in New York and upon his wife’s insistence they return home, he spotted a gap in the market.

“ I always wondered why you could buy Irish beer in the US, but not in shops here in Ireland...I just love beer,” said Richard to Kevin.

Richard and his operations started out small and with the purchase of some second hand, never used, brewing equipment which he spotted on Donedeal. From here the Black Donkey brewing brand and the ethos surrounding it has grown. Now the company produces over 4,000 bottles of beer every week.

They now have even begun exporting their beer abroad, with one region in Russia importing the beer. They have a range of flavours, but it all began with the sheep-stealer, a name Richard first heard in the US. Upon hearing it, he decided he would do all within his power to produce something under that name.

The company tries to promote as much Irish produce as possible. In every brew, they have between 90 and 95% Irish produce. While all of their barley is bought from Ireland, bar one batch and some grain from Belgium. The team have even begun experimenting with Wild yeast, with the hope to one day be able to produce beer from their own, unique, yeast from caves in RathCroghan, Co. Roscommon.

In three short years the company has come so far, with Richard and his chief brewer Glen working tirelessly to ensure a smooth, running, operation. Richards love for what he does is abundantly clear upon conversing for a mere few minutes.

New ideas are coming everyday, with a new coffee flavoured beer to hit the shelves very soon. The sheep stealer may only be in our lives just over three years, but it quickly stole the hearts of beer lovers worldwide.

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