Cork brewery 9 White Deer has launched Ireland’s first gluten-free stout while unveiling Europe’s first full range of gluten-free craft beers.
The Stag Saor's stout brings a fresh twist to Ireland's long stout brewing tradition.
9 White Deer was founded in 2014 - and within its first-year co-founder, Don O’Leary was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. The brewery says that this "essentially determined the direction for the business."
Working with his partner - former marine engineer, Gordon Lucey - he set about creating the company's first gluten-free product.
“At first the timing seemed terrible, we had just opened a craft brewery and I identified a gluten intolerance. However, the development of Stag Saor has changed everything for the business," Don reflects.
"It prompted us to research the market and see how limited the beer offering is for those with gluten intolerance. There have been a very small number of gluten-free lagers and pale ales developed in Ireland over the last two years but, with options still very limited, we identified an opportunity to create a full range of gluten-free beers, which also taste really good,” the publican continued.
Saor launched in 2015 and received a bronze medal at the 2016 Blás na hEireann awards - competing in a blind test against traditional beers.
Kevin Kennedy, who writes for GiveMeGlutenFreedom.com had a preview sip of the new brew and reports that he was pleasantly surprised: "I was sceptical because I've been anticipating it for so long, but I'm thrilled to say that this is top quality... Up until now, I've been ordering in bulk from the UK. No more. Now Ireland has it's own, and it's as good as if not better, than any bottled stout I've had in the past."
The name 9 White Deer comes from a 6th Century fable in which one of Ireland’s most famous saints (St Gobnait) was told by an angel that she would set up an Abbey and a church on a site where she would come across 9 White Deer. This site was just one kilometer away from the 9 White Deer brewery.
It now employs eight people, in Ballyvourney, Co. Cork.