By Jacques Couret
Senior Online Editor and Social Engagement Manager
Atlanta Business Chronicle
SweetWater Brewing Co. inked a deal with Ireland’s Rye River Brewing Co. to put SweetWater beers in pubs all over Dublin starting Sept. 1, marking the Atlanta brewery’s first international distribution.
The Brewers Association, which represents small and independent craft brewers, reports the craft beer market’s export volume grew 16.3 percent to $116 million in 2015, growing by about 446,000 barrels. By comparison, The Beer Institute reports more than 11 million barrels were imported into the United States as of April 2016.
SweetWater also noted Ireland has high demand for American craft beer, but the supply is small.
“Basically, U.S. craft is catching up on the export side — SweetWater is being proactive here, and we expect international exporting to be huge for the craft industry as a whole,” SweetWater Chief Revenue Officer Paul Kirbabas told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Notably, Kirbabas worked on the distributor side of the beer industry for the majority of his career, including nearly 30 years at United. In one of his first sales jobs for a distributor in Atlanta, he brought the first keg of Guinness to Atlanta for the opening of Atlanta’s first Irish bar, County Cork Pub on Cains Hill Place in Buckhead. Now, he’s overseeing the distribution of the first SweetWater brews in Ireland.
The Aer Lingus College Football Classic is Sept. 3 and pits Georgia Tech against Boston College.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle