Oliver Hughes and Liam LaHart, cousins (more like brothers) came into this world in 1959. Not that it was known then, but an important year for the beer scene in Ireland.
Oliver was born in Dublin but spent most of his childhood and teenage years in the UK however every summer he would travel back to Ireland to Gortnahoe in County Tipperary where Liam lived.
This is where they formed a bond that would last decades and leave behind a legacy.
Liam, having heard numerous stories from his cousin about the opportunities across the Irish sea, moved to London in search of work in 1979. Liam and Oliver, who at the time was in college just outside of London, spent many a day in a Firkin pub; which at the time were brewing cask ales. Both Oliver and Liam credit the Firkin chain of pubs with instilling an interest in beer, beyond just the idea of drinking it.
Oliver and Liam moved back to Ireland in the early 80’s wanting to open their own brewery. In 1983 Harty’s Brewery opened in Blessington, Co. Wicklow. Brewing a traditional cask ale, malty and lightly hopped Harty’s saw some initial success.
However, this is where Oliver and Liam earned their first degree in the University of Life with beer lines cut by the multinationals and an unsophisticated debt collection program leaving Harty’s go out of business.
You wouldn’t put Belgian Beer & Bray together in the 1980s.
Well Liam & Oliver would do just that when they opened the Porterhouse on the Bray seafront in 1989. Not enamoured by the idea of serving only the mainstays in the Irish market at the time, the boys headed into the EEC to various “Beer countries” in their van with an array of different beers. The system was if you brought a beer in that they didn’t have, you would get two pints on the house!
In 1996 Oliver and Liam opened Dublin first brewpub. Intent on selling only independent beers, primarily focusing on our core range, it was expected the pub would close within six months.
Peter Mosley came on as head brewer and a number of core beers were produced ranging from heavy stouts to light lagers. Dublin had never seen the like. This ten barrel brewery would only last a couple years before it needed expansion
Most of our original beers are still part of our core range, in one way or another. Recipes have been tweaked, branding has been updated but by and large these originals have stood the test of time. Three Stouts; Three Ales & Three Lagers.
In 1998, Plain Porter won the accolade of “Best Stout in the World” at the Brewing Industry International Awards, often dubbed the “Brewing Oscars”. We always knew we were the best stout brewed in Dublin, but in the world was something else!
In 2000, we moved into our new sixty-barrel brewery in Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin. This brewery gave us our first ever opportunity to sell our beer into other bars. We did this at a small level in Dublin, where “craft” beer had yet to take off, but more so in Central Europe where we began to see an uptake in some of our core beers, namely Plain Porter, Oyster Stout and our Nitro Red Ale.
Over three years in the early noughties, we opened two pubs in Dublin and one in London. This gave us a much greater footprint in both cities to help push Porterhouse beer.
In 2011 we opened our first pub in New York City. Fraunces Tavern, one of the oldest pubs in the country, was then followed by the Porterhouse Brew Co. Both are located in the Financial District of Manhattan.
In 2012, we won the “Best Stout in the World” once again!
On the 31st July 2016, Oliver Hughes sadly passed away. He is survived by his wife, Helen, and two children, Elliot & Holly. Elliot currently works alongside Liam LaHart and Peter Mosley as Business Development Director while Holly works within the marketing department of the business.
In 2016 we started construction work on a new brewery for ourselves. It had become clear that the previous site couldn’t keep up with demand. Our new brewery was by far our biggest project we had undertaken as we attempted to keep up with the growth in “craft” beer as well as the changing beer dynamic globally.
We opened our new brewery in January 2018. Our new 120 barrel facility gave us the opportunity to significantly increase production as well as experiment with new beer styles as we have a lot more freedom!
We plan on producing new and innovative beers over the coming years while bringing our core Porterhouse Brew Co beers to a greater number of people wherever we can.