MicroBrewr 045: Launch your brewery with a strong opening night, with West Cork Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 045: Launch your brewery with a strong opening night

You’ve spent months working toward opening your brewery, now you’re finally ready for the public. How do you come out with a bang? Henry Thornhill and friends recently opened West Cork Brewing Company in Baltimore, Ireland. They share how to put on a successful opening night.

West Cork is renowned for its high quality food. Now quality craft beer also comes from West Cork.

West Cork Brewing was started in 2014 by three friends, Henry Thornhill, Dominic Casey, and Kevin Waugh, with just €15,000 (approx. US$12,000).

Although it’s a nanobrewery operating in the basement of Casey’s of Baltimore hotel, they knew they had to come out with a bang.

Here’s what they did for their grand opening:

  • T-shirts with brewery logo
  • Promotional photos on the wall
  • Nonstop tours of their brewery
  • Live music
  • Food pairings

Media was also a big part of West Cork’s grand opening. They had coverage in local and national newspapers as well as local radio stations. Here’s how you do it:

  • Send press releases before the event including lots of photos.
  • Invite media to attend the event.
  • Blitz social media.
  • Talk with friends of friends to make connections with media.
  • Keep up the momentum by leveraging coverage after the event.

Reflecting on the event, Henry has some suggestions for ways they could have improved:

  • Write a plan for media outreach.
  • Blitz local radio stations.
  • Decide on a goal for the evening.

“It’s good to have goals and then to work backwards from goals to see what kind of tactics you need to put in place.”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 200 liter (53 gallon)

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 1, 200 liter (53 gallon)

Size and quantity of bright tanks: none

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 3,500 liters (925 gallons)

Square footage: 400 sq. ft.

Years in operation: recently opened

“ Enjoy today because tomorrow is just another today.” [Tweet This]


Listener question:

From Lawrence: How long does it take you to develop your recipes? Where do you look to be inspired when you’re looking to try something new?

Book recommendation:

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An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Henry Thornhill and West Cork Brewing Company at:

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4 replies
  1. Russ Neis
    Russ Neis says:

    Could you ask a brewery that just sells a certain beer at the taproom that changes a lot if they have to report that formula to the ttb? Or if they make a flagship beer but put it through a randall of hops/fruits and sell it to a bar or their taproom if they need to report that to the ttb for a new formula.

    • Nathan Pierce
      Nathan Pierce says:

      Oh wow, that’s a great question, Russ. I wondered about that, too. I might have to check with the TTB on that one. EDIT: I found the information on the TTB site. The nuances are too complicated to summarize here, I’ll have to write a blog about it in the future. In the meantime, got to Beer Home on the TTB website: http://www.ttb.gov/beer/index.shtml. Scroll down to “Other Beer Resources” and click on “Get Labeling/Formulation Approval.”

  2. Ray Ricky Rivera
    Ray Ricky Rivera says:

    I’ve been getting your emails and recently started listening to the pod casts. I’m really enjoying all the info! So much great stuff to take in. I’m a new home brewer and have been working on a concept for a brew house. Micro Brewr has helped me further develop my idea. Thanks!


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