Prohibition welcomes Dot Brew

Hi Shane, we’re over the moon to be distributing Dot Brew in Northern Ireland! First up, can you please tell us how Dot came into being?

Cheers guys . We are delighted to be north of the wall. All jokes aside it was great to see such an awesome beer scene back in Sept, and we are stoked to work with Prohibition.

The Story of DOT brew is simple enough. It's basically me as homebrewer taking a punt (after a push) at a commercial beer (ad)venture with strong wood influences from the outset. The unsung heroes are Peter & Mikey, mates and business partners that have been around since the days pre DOT.

It's very safe to say that without these guys and the help of my very supportive partner (pregnant at the time with our second child in the space of a year) there would be no DOT brew and I would still be brewing in my porch!

The R&D (home brewing) went from my porch and brew cupboard to an expansion to a separate space in a mates office for mixed fermentation beers to a converted canteen container to the boot of my car to a room in the basement of a building on Dame Lane thanks to the Fumbally Exchange, all before being ready to launch to market . We wanted the beer to be right!

Like all good obsessions the beginnings were all consuming and limitless.



Our paths first crossed at ABV festival last September when you brought us three incredible barrel aged beers to taste, what have you been up to since then?

It seems like a minute and a lifetime ago. First off, thanks for having us to the ABV festival, awesome set up / awesome organisers  / awesome volunteers / awesome crowds / awesome beers. That’s a whole lot of awesome! 

It has been an incredible few months, as per our initial launch to market the focus has been on the beer and the barrel, the opening up of export markets has allowed DOT to expand and further the barrel stock. This has also accommodated the scale up on batch sizes whilst retaining that bit creativity. The hunt for “big shiny” continues too.



Where are you located and how often do you brew? Is there anything unique about your process?

DOT is unique in a few different ways. First off we are a gypsy brewery / brand in that our production moves around depending on local capacity and beer design. To date production has always been with other stellar Irish breweries. This isn’t all that different, but to add a bit of complexity we do have our own warehouse in the heart of Dublin 8 where all our packaged beer is stored & distributed and where our barrel aging programme lives. ‘The Barn’ is where we maturate / blend and package all of the DOT barrel aged releases. With our own production license it allows us to take full control of the real essence of what DOT brew is about.

On average we are looking about 6 months ahead with a couple of bigger projects in the works for 18+ months. One of the most unique elements to our process is the selection of barrels and the ability to design beers to the individual barrel sets. The barrels are simply another ingredient or a level of seasoning. We hold a stock of sweet liquid (eg an amber ale in bourbon) and stock of drier beers (eg rye in French oak) to balance out blends of aged releases when needed. We are also in the process of building a barrel aged core range, which is fun but does set its own warren of challenges.



Barrel ageing is very much your thing. Tell us a bit about what time in wood adds to your beer.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood!? Yeah, I have a timber fetish. Where to start, the wood type and origin / the char / the age of the wood / the previous fill / microbiology. No two barrels are the same. I think that’s the draw!



The Irish craft beer scene seems to be on a fairly vertical trajectory. What do you put this down to?

Irish brewers have found their own voice and are creating their own identity! I think its simple, we started late and scrambled to meet an Irish market demand that was accustomed to a small number of beer styles and brands. The beer customer and consumer now wants more, partly based on travel or imports and Irish Brewers are delighted to give it to them. Onwards and upwards.



Do you have a favourite beer destination or festival that you never want to miss?

Im going to have to say the ABV Festival, hint hint, nod nod! Another Irish one would be Hagstavagansa. I think the White Hag have done a great things for the Irish beer scene by setting the internal bar soo high.

As for a beery destination, I have a huge draw to Copenhagen having visited the city 3 times in 2018. The city has an incredible vibe & heart beat. The sensational culinary diversity transcends to the beer  scene and every bottle shop and bar offers something different. Yes yes, a belly and a suitcase of beer came home every time. 



Further to that, what are your ‘Desert Island Beers’?

Deserted Island Beer(S) Jaysus, this would be a long ass list. There’s a time and place of everything. Off the bat I’d say Alefarm’s Nordic Grape / there was Hi im Kvierk by Stone & Lervig which took me by surprise / id replace my tap water with ODeills Friek, its simply too easy to drink / Love a lot of Avery Brewing Co. barrel aged beers / Theres a couple of UK & Irish beers that would easily snatch the IPA crown off the heads of our American brothers & sisters (I cant name just  1 or 2) / Brus & Crooked Stave did a colab in Chardonnay barrels, I think it was called Namistave, that was a tasty drop and the last sip of liquid to a pair of parched lips would be the De Struise Brouwers Rio Reserva (St Emilion Wine + Kentucky Bourbon B.A) oh lordy I could keep going!



The sense of family, sharing of ideas and experience is strong in the beer scene. What brewers and breweries do you take inspiration from?

DOT brew currently relies on extra production capacity from other breweries at the moment, this is obviously a paid for service but, and it is a massive but! I have been extremely fortunate to work with some awesome brewers (& people). Folks that are generous & patient with both time, knowledge and resources.  

In relation to inspiration, I have been asked that question a few times. Every time I answer I always walk away thinking, feck! I should have mentioned so and so.

For DOT brew I & We get influences from food, wine, whiskey just as much as beer. People and brands that I personally take inspiration from are those whom have carved out a personal & brand identity from grit and graft. Its awesome to see people succeed especially when they have forged  and created their own identity through a quality product.  9.9 times out of 10 these people are super passionate about what they do. Every country & market has some! 


Which of your beers should drinkers absolutely not miss when they see them on tap or in fridges?

Im obviously going to say all of them!

We produce plenty of barrel aged beers, many of which will never be repeated or rereleased. When they are gone they are gone. Also from the start we decided as a collective that if we come across a  barrel that displays something unique / something special (“ the elusive  unicorn”) that we will always release it as a single cask or single barrel beer rather than blend to the master batch for the sake of a bit of volume or packaging costs. That unicorn is completely unpredictable but defiantly not to be missed.  



What’s next for Dot Brew? Will you seek to expand further and will you continue to spread your wings? What challenges do you foresee?

There are so many planned steps and absolutely we are just getting started!

The next big goals on a broad stroke level are: continue to build the barrel programme / greater efficiency in operations / extend the team with likeminded people / our own production facility (big shiny) is the elephant in the room.

On the expansion side, we are producting & selling more, without losing sight of those who supported us from the concept & inception. We would be nothing without the independent off licenses & bars that stock our beer.  Our Challenges are the same as what every small start-up has. Cash is king. We are fortunate to be incredibly resilient, the three of us have built a brand & product from a foundation of bread crumbs and graft.



Beer seems to be getting ever more crazy, with seemingly endless opportunities for experimentation. Where do you see this going in the future and what are Dot Brew tipping as the next big thing in beer?

IPA is the new IPA.

On the Irish side, the more young Irish distilleries that come of age the more barrels will come up for grabs, at a guess this will see more barrel aged experimentations. Low abv is in there. Yeast is the new hop.  And maybe a bit of funk for good measure.  

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