Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016

Author: Clerkin Lynch LLP

Date Published 17/05/2018

The proposed Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016 would enable micro-breweries or distilleries to serve their beer or produce to visitors to their brewery who have participated in a tour between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. The Bill would also allow for restricted off-sales and on-sales, but only in respect of the microbreweries’ own produce.

The new licence would be called a producer’s retail licence. The premises to which the licence is to attach would need to satisfy normal licencing requirements in order to avail of this licence, including approval of the premises from the local fire officer, compliance with health and safety requirements and consent from an Garda Siochana.

The Bill was recently debated and approved at Committee Stage by the Select Committee on Justice & Equality of the Oireachtas. The Bill originated as a private members’ bill introduced by TD Alan Kelly.

There was one significant amendment to the Bill introduced at Committee Stage which provides that on being granted a producer’s retail licence any existing licences issued under the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 attached to the premises shall be extinguished, other than:

  • a brewer of beer for sale licence;
  • a distiller of spirits licence;
  • a maker of cider or perry for sale licence;
  • a maker for sale of sweets licence; or
  • a rectifier or compounder of spirits licence.

An applicant for a producer’s retail licence must already hold one of the above licences in order to make an application.

A link to the draft Bill as amended at Committee Stage can be found below:

Changes to the Bill previously introduced at the Second Stage in the Dail means that rules which normally apply to the grant of retail alcohol licences will apply to licences granted under the Bill. Accordingly, craft breweries and distilleries will need to apply to Court for a Court Certificate in order to attain a licence to sell their produce to people after they have taken a tour of their brewery or distillery.


In recent years, the craft beer industry has amassed 3.4% of sales in the overall beer market. The Guinness Storehouse attracts approximately 1.6 million visitors each year.

At the time of writing, the Bill was due before Dail Eireann at third stage or Committee Stage, having been last debated by the Select Committee also at third stage on 14 and 15 February 2018.

Clerkin Lynch has acted for a broad range of clients in the food, drink and hospitality industries. Please contact Sean Hiney on 01 611 4400 for further information.