Donncha Burke is from the Irish Coastal Town of Skibbereen, he fell in love with brewing while he was living in Killarney, Ireland after University in 2011. Often visiting Killarney Brewing company and Torc Brewing, constantly earwigging on brewers conversations and quizzing them about their processes. After moving to Frankfurt, Germany in 2012 whilst managing bars & restaurants, he would visit a brewery called Braustill. This was Frankfurt’s first modern craft brewery and Donncha would spend his free evenings there researching the processes and theories of brewing, whilst also enthusiastically quizzing the brewmaster.
This eventually led to Donncha taking up homebrewing and founding Ar Suil Brewing Project. After moving to Birmingham, Donncha would sell his homebrew to customers and staff at the restaurant that he worked at. After receiving great feedback on his beers, Donncha would take his Ar Suil brand to the next level. In 2016 he launched his first commercially produced beer, in collaboration with a Wolverhampton based brewery called; Sacre Brew. This would lead to a few more bigger batches being launched commercially in collaboration with Thousand Trades & Elusive respectively.
This eventually led to a colaboration with Dig Brew Co in 2017, who were at the time just getting started in Birmingham’s trendy Digbeth area. This beer was so successful that it turned into a job offer, which meant Donncha could now leave the hospitality Industry and become a full time brewer. After 9 months at Dig Brew Co Donncha became the Head Brewer. Constantly working long hours to perfect his processes, learning from collaborations and discussing every aspect in brewing with other brewers paid off in March 2019 when Dig Brew Co won the highly regarded ‘Raise The Bar’ competition.
This win caught the attention of a new brewery in Shrewsbury called Evolution Beer Co, who convinced him to move to their brewery. It took a lot of convincing as Donncha was immensely proud of all he achieved at Dig Brew Co, but ultimately He moved in August 2019.
Whilst at Evolution, Donncha started to turn the brewery around with highly regarded beers like “Resistence is Futile” and “Here’s Donny” as well as collaborations with the likes of; “Attic Brew Co’, “Twisted Barrel”, “Lough Gill” & “Padstow”. Unfortunately during March 2020, uncertainty caused by COVID 19 led to the main investor pulling out and closing down the Brewery.
During that time Donncha started doing consultancy for Sommar Brew Co in Birmingham whom he designed the brewing equipment for and Play Brew Co in Middlesbrough. One of the beers he brewed (Los Banditos) went on to win 2 gold and 1 silver medal in SIBA small pack beer competitions.
In August 2020 Donncha joined us here at Tap It, bringing with him an eagerness to establish the brewery on the Southampton scene. Donncha started to completely redesign the recipes of the core range, to modernise the offering. He also introduced Tap It’s first lager. Donncha is not afraid to break the mould and experiment with new processes and is definitely not afraid to get the max out of equipment.
The willingness to try new combinations and push the boundaries will inevitably lead us to produce innovative and compelling new beers. Whilst Tap It will be brewing more New Englands, sours, DIPAs and Imperial stouts, we will be grounded by also producing crisp lagers and thirst quenching session IPAs and APAs.
Cheers to that.