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Do you want to build an Irish Microbrewery…..

“Some fellas down in Cork imported a load of buffalos and went over to Italy to learn how to make mozzarella.  Or there’s a farmer in Kilkenny producing ethically raised veal?  Or a family in Kerry are raising rare breeds of cattle.”  It was so interesting to see what other people were doing with their family based farm but what could we do with ours?  At the time Michael was managing a busy bar in Dublin and was seeing first hand how the craft beer movement was taking off.  Over Christmas dinner in 2013 the idea to start a brewery in one of the old unused farm sheds was proposed.  When out visiting my grandaunt on a fresh Spring morning or a beautiful bright Summer day while inhaling the fresh air and taking in the beautiful surrounds of the farm I often thought to myself, if only we could bottle this.

A brewery sounded perfect and 18 months later, Western Herd started brewing.

Our father, who ran his own highly successful civil engineering company always said that as long as you were working for someone else, you will only ever earn X.  When you are working for yourself, there’s no guarantee you will even get X at the end of each month, but whatever you do get, it will be your own.  He put 4 of us through college and even provided employment for each of us at various stages throughout the business.  My grandfather owned a jewellery shop and watch repair business in Kilrush while my great grandfather ran the post office in Kilmaley.  I’m not sure if entrepreneurship is genetic, but if so, hopefully it hasn’t skipped this generation!!

It’s pretty daunting going out on your own.  After working in Luxembourg for a number of years, we had a bit of money saved to invest in the business.  Like many of our friends, we had invested in property which is still not worth what we paid for it and won’t be for a long time.  So things are tight enough.  Here in Clare, job opportunities are limited but we decided to go for it anyway and began working on a business plan and researching the project.  Could we even afford the start up costs?  Is there a market for the product and who are our potential customers?  We are at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.  Bravely, or foolishly we are moving forward.  Only time would tell….