Beer is a Conversation: Dermot O'Donnell

Dermot O’Donnell has been brewing for more than 50 years, since starting at the Courage Brewery in 1967. He has worked in the UK for Bass Charrington, as well as locally at Lion, CUB, CCA and more recently at St Andrews Beach Brewery in a consultancy role.

He was involved in developing a wide range of beers over the years including Tooheys Blue, Tooheys Dry, Carlton Mid and Pure Blonde. He also developed Subzero.

While I could have done an episode on almost any one of those, I was interested in speaking to Dermot about his thoughts about the rise of seltzers.

Older brewers have often said that one of the things that drove down the bitterness of mainstream beer prior to the advent of craft beers was the rise of things such as wine coolers that competed against beers and appealed to people who ‘didn’t like the flavour of beer’.

Given Dermott had been brewing through the 80s and wine coolers, the late 90s and vodka cruisers and into the current hard seltzer wave – and had developed a few non-beer drinks himself – I thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts about them and see what a brewers thinks about their impact on the beer market.

It’s a fascinating conversation about a long career in beer. It did feel a little like we had to skim over 50 years so if there’s anything that you would like to dig deeper into, let us know.

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