O’Hara’s Brewery was founded in 1997 by Eamonn and Seamus O’Hara in Carlow County, Ireland. The history of beer in Ireland dates back to the late 18th century, and by the mid-19th century most market towns in Ireland had at least one brewery. Carlow became particularly famous for having the best arable land in the country for malt barley cultivation, land that to this day is still used for growing high quality malt. Old malt houses can still be seen all along the River Barrow and these would have serviced the breweries of 18th and 19th century Ireland. Starting in the mid-19th century, Ireland’s indigenous brewing industry started to decline, and by the late 20th century it was dominated by a handful of internationally owned industrial-scale breweries. On the heels of the American and British craft brewing revolutions of the 1970’s and 1980’s, in the 1990’s Ireland followed suit and O’Hara’s was one of the first on the scene.
Looking to not only create room for his own brewery, but craft beer in general, Seamus O’Hara co-founded the Irish Craft Beer & Cider Festival in 2011, to help showcase and promote craft brewing. In 2014 22 Irish craft breweries showcased some 150 different beers and ciders to 10,000+ attendees at the Royal Dublin Society, and O’Hara’s was front and center. In 2000, O’Hara’s Irish Stout won the Champions Trophy and two gold medals at the International Millennium Brewing Industry Awards. Now with over a decade of experience leading Ireland’s craft beer community, O’Hara’s looks to the future as full of opportunity for expansion and advancement of Irish craft beer.