Take seven beer lovers from the northside. Add friendships, a marriage, the common love of good brewing coupled with innovation and you have Hope Beer, an award-winning micro-brewery based in Kilbarrack.
Proud of their heritage, Hope’s range of core beers are all aptly named and linked to Dublin folklore.
Founder Wim de Jongh is one of the seven. Not a traditional northside name you might think – but he was born at the Rotunda to an Irish mum and a Dutch dad.
Wim grew up in Holland and studied for a year at Trinity College where he met his future wife and business partner, Jeanne Mahony.
Hope started out in 2015 when the brewery was founded by Wim and Jeanne, close friend Des McSwiggan and co-investor from Holland, Paul Riteco.
The expanded team now includes Richie Hamilton, head brewer, and Phil Bizzell and Johnny Gantley.
Wim told Dublin Gazette: “Our operation uses excellent equipment, with experienced, dedicated brewers and a crafty sales team – all key components before you even taste our award-winning beers.
Pandemic sales slump
“When the bars and restaurants closed during the pandemic restrictions, we lost a significant amount of our business. It brought logistical challenges including getting canning time from our supplier and how to sell the beer we had already brewed.
“As the coronavirus spread, the brewed beer could not be sold in the pub so instead we canned the collaboration beer and sold it in cans at off-licences. It was a huge success during the Covid restrictions.”
Wim reckons Hope initially lost about 70% of their customer base as their export business closed, along with restaurant and pub sales.
He said: “We recognised that people missed the experience of a freshly poured pint plus as the restrictions started to lift, people were allowed to have small family events so we introduced five-litre kegs which allowed people to pour a pint of draught beer at home.”
Each core beer tells a story on the label – Hop On refers to two Dublin boys who sneaked onto a ferry to London and then a flight to New York.
Grunt wheat beer is based on the belief that Howth fishermen are superstitious and believe it’s bad luck to mention a pig on a ship.
Wim explained: “We like to match our beers with food, and we have some interesting food pairings, for example ‘Handsome Jack’ full flavoured beer goes well with burgers, steaks, barbequed food and pizza.
“The name is derived from Jack Criss, a pirate who lived on the Northside”.
“We are all so proud of our contribution to the success of Hope. What began as a series of late-night kitchen table discussions is now a state-of-the-art brewery, producing an extensive range of award-winning premium craft beers”.
All Hope beers are brewed, bottled, canned and kegged at their micro-brewery at Howth Junction.
They are stocked at independent off licences including O’Brien’s Wines, leading supermarkets such as Dunnes Stores and SuperValu (Hopebeer.ie/stockists/). The company also export to Russia, France, Italy and Holland.