Irish Distillers, a subsidiary of drinks giant Pernod Ricard, has sold Mitchelstown craft beer business Eight Degrees Brewing back to its founders.
Business partners Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace bought back the brewery for an undisclosed sum.
Founded by the Kiwi and Australian pair in 2010, Eight Degrees was purchased by Irish Distillers in 2018.
At the time, the acquisition was intended to provide Irish Distillers with beer for its Jameson Caskmates project, which is made by finishing the Jameson Irish whiskey in craft beer-seasoned barrels.
In a statement, Irish Distillers said the Cork-based group would continue to supply the company with its products “to support the Jameson Caskmates’ range”.
Wallace told Just Drinks the Spot Whiskey brand owner was “currently in the process of transitioning sales back to Eight Degrees directly over the next month or so”.
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Baigent and Wallace both left Eight Degrees 18 months ago, to “reflect on where their passions lie and what they want to achieve”.
Commenting on their reason for returning to the brewery, Wallace said: “We are keen to get back into the driver’s seat and continue the journey we started more than 14 years ago.”
Baigent added: “With a heap of reckless optimism and a lot of newfound energy, we seek to deliver the Naturally Adventurous message once more.”
The group plans to work “with the same core brewery team” following the purchase. Seven people work at the business excluding the founders, Wallace confirmed.
Eight Degrees’ core brands include its Seisiún Easy Going IPA, Sunburnt Irish red ale, Bohemian pilsner lager, and Knockmealdown Irish stout, among others.
The brewer produces seasonal drinks including its Original Gravity Irish oak-aged barley wine. It also intends to release a new German wheat beer at the end of February.
Irish Distillers also developed a third edition of its Jameson Crested whiskey with Eight Degrees in 2022.
Eight Degrees has listings for its beers in Tesco, Supervalu, Dunnes, and O’Briens Wine in Ireland, and also has a presence in on-premise.
Outside of Ireland, Wallace told Just Drinks the group also has “a very strong export relationship with Italy”.
Wallace added that Eight Degrees has had export relationships with “around 12 countries” in the past, “and [hopes] to re-engage with many of our old customers over the coming months”.
Commenting on its late partnership with Irish Distillers, Baigent said in a statement: “We have enjoyed the journey over these past five years.
“Irish Distillers [played] a massive role in completing the build of our brewery in Mitchelstown at the foot of the Galtee Mountains in North Cork.”
Eight Degrees had a 60-hectolitre Kaspar Schulz brewhouse installed at the Mitchelstown site towards the end of 2018.
Working alongside the Pernod group also allowed Eight Degrees to experiment with “some really exciting beers”, said Wallace, “especially the experience of aging beers in whiskey barrels, along with developing a range of exciting whiskeys that were finished in craft beer-seasoned barrels.”