Searching for Kilkenny in US

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by humuloner22, Feb 23, 2014.

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  1. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I live in a state that has your usual suspects, but I was in Europe a few years back and tried Kilkenny, and it was an amazing experience. Where can this be found or traded for? I apologize but this is the first time I have posted here, if this is the wrong place. But I would really like to find this one, without driving too far or flying to Ireland.
    Skis42, DWheeler379 and Chaz like this.
  2. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    Is this Kilkenny Cream Ale made by (then) Smithwicks, but now brewed by Guinness?
  3. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I believe you are correct. I saw somewhere that it came in a mixed pack with Guinness and Harp, but for some reason that same mixed pack has Smithwicks in place of Kilkenny where I live, in NC. I also miss Beamish, which was easily obtained 10 years ago but is nowhere to be found. But, yes I am referring to the Kilkenny cream ale, served in the same type of nitro cans as Guinness.
  4. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I haven't seen Beamish on the West Coast in maybe four years, I'm not even sure if it's still being imported.
  5. Lochnessmonster

    Lochnessmonster Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2013 Florida

    First of all, good for you seeking out an awesome brew for St. Patrick's Day that isn't just Guinness or Smithwicks. Second, I wish I could help - I've checked every bottle shop in my area for it, but it seems they don't deal with the proper distributors (even though as stated in the posts above, it's brewed by Guinness). Finally, you may want to give a call to the Irish pubs in your area, I've found a few that have it on tap, so I can at least get my fix there.
  6. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I have done some research. For some reason distribution is not statewide, but it is available in Northern Virginia and the DC area, but not in southern Virginia, which is where I live closest to. N. Virginia is a bit of a haul for me, I guess, I will have to wait and see if it pops up in NC, we have some other really good options, but sometimes you just want something that is difficult to obtain, it doesn't mean that its any better, but it does bring back a good memory for me and that can mean as much as the quality of the brew.
  7. BrandonOakes

    BrandonOakes Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I believe it is only on tap in the US. I know an national Irish pub, Claughdas (Im not sure on the spelling), has it on tap in I believe all of their locations.
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  8. JasonLovesBeer

    JasonLovesBeer Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2013 Canada (BC)

    It's as common as Guinness up here pretty much, I had no idea it was so uncommon in the US. I'm not sure about other provinces but if you're ever up north of the border, you might be able to find it pretty easily.
  9. PaulyB83

    PaulyB83 Crusader (746) Sep 1, 2013 Michigan

    The Fado Irish Pub chain has Kilkenny but the closest one to North Carolina is in Atlanta or Annapolis, MD.
  10. TheBeer

    TheBeer Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2013 Wisconsin

    Kilkenny was all over Connecticut while I lived there. Haven't really been on a lookout since that time,but Kilkenny is simply a less pleasing verison of Guiness IMO.
  11. BrettHead

    BrettHead Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    Probably brewed by Labatt or someone like a lot of the Diageo products for NA :-)
  12. Schmittymack

    Schmittymack Zealot (578) Sep 3, 2008 Colorado

    Have had it on tap up in Steamboat Springs at Mc Knights Irish pub near the resort we stay at. It's actually a decent brew in my opinion.
  13. target88

    target88 Devotee (435) Dec 3, 2013 Kentucky

    You can get it here in Ky at most Irish bars and festivals, I dont know if its the Guiness or Smithwicks version. I only buy it on draft and it is perhaps one of the prettiest pours in a glass I have ever seen. Dont know if its the one you had overseas and its like a Guiness light as noted above and a decent brew
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Guinness bought the Smithwick's Kilkenny brewery (then known as St. Francis Abbey Brewery) in 1956. According to everything I've read, the "Kilkenny" brand originated decades later, under Guinness ownership, and originally used in the export markets that they felt would have a difficult time with the pronunciation of "Smithwick", for a slightly stronger beer. (IIRC, Guinness closed or announced the closing of that brewery recently. The US Smithwick's, as noted in the link below, originally came from Dundalk - also on Diageo's chopping block).

    Currently, there are numerous beers brewed by Guinness and marketed internationally under both brand names, so one is never sure what they are getting. For instance, when Smithwick's was re-introduced in the US, Guinness' "promotional" brewmaster, Fergal Murray even - refreshingly - admitted as much to the Washington Post:

    The beer urban legend used to be that the US got "Smithwicks" because Coors objected to the name "Kilkenny" as being too close to their "Killian's" (AB in the US also brewed a "Killarney's" faux Irish beer around the same time) but in recent years Diageo/Guinness USA did start bringing in kegs of a Kilkenny branded beer, brewed in Ireland (not Canada, as suggested in one post above).


    Not sure if Kilkenny cans are now available in the US or not - there seems to be two current versions of a "Irish Beer Discovery Pack" but the one with Kilkenny (right) seems to be primarily a Canadian release (Kilkenny has long been available in Canada), and the primary US one features a new Smithwick's Pale Ale. But, you never know with Diageo.


    Diageo/Guinness USA is pretty good at replying to email questions. <>
    #14 jesskidden, Feb 24, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  15. Graeme24

    Graeme24 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2008 Ireland

    I never in my wildest imagination thought I would hear Kilkenny being described on here as 'an amazing experience'.
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  16. RWACKO

    RWACKO Initiate (0) Jun 9, 2011 New York

    I also looked all over the states for Kilkenny and seems the only place you can get it is canada luckily for me I have friends who bring me a couple (4) packs every time they come down.
  17. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Canada (ON)

    This is all over the place in Ontario. It seems odd that it is available in Canada and not stateside.
  18. wordemupg

    wordemupg Poo-Bah (4,242) Feb 11, 2009 Canada (AB)
    Society Trader

    Seems odd to me too, its all over Alberta and I'd never guess its hard to find stateside.
  19. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    That's because Beamish and Crawford bought Murphy's Irish Stout and mainly imports that instead of Beamish.
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  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Beamish was owned by Scottish & Newcastle. Heineken and Carlsberg bought and divided up S&N in 2008, with Heineken getting the UK and Irish breweries.

    Heineken moved Beamish product crosstown to Murphy's (which they've owned since the 1980's), closed the brewery and, at the same time, stopped exportation of Beamish to the US and, IIRC, elsewhere - deciding to concentrate on the Irish domestic market.

    The Heineken-owned Murphy's exported to the US does not come from Ireland, but from Heineken owned breweries in the UK or a Heinken brewery in Holland.

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  21. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    I'm well aware as I lived a block from the closed down brewery for 4 months. The point is that they're conjoined and that Murhpy's is the beer that's getting exported.
  22. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    HA!, I guess you had to be there. It was early in my drinking career and I was in a festive environment. More of a memory, perhaps. But it was really good.
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  23. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I noticed this as well. I have seen that very Irish Discovery Pack here where I live, seems we truly get the short end of the stick in the US. It looks like the Canadian version is a much better selection. Guinness has really been pushing that horrible black lager here, Smithwicks, is fine, but I really do wish we could get the Kilkenny, to be clear this beer is nice and red with a creaminess found in nitro beers. I may look into this, you have brought up a very good point.
  24. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,202) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    ^ I agree with almost all of what Jess K typed, above. To the original poster, the cans pictured in the image above should be able to be traded for, and perhaps ordered from your local stockist or Packie via their very-own Diageo wholesale supplier.

    I live in a metropolitan area which prides itself on its Irish (and generically Celtic) heritage, and so those "Irish Beer" sampler packages are indeed permanently floor-stacked and/or in the cold box at my local retailer -- in fact, I recall seeing both packaging variants.

    Good luck, O.P.! :slight_smile:
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Some people are reporting that the 8-Pack with Kilkenny and Harp (and minus Black Lager and Smithwick's Pale Ale) is available in certain markets in the US - which is why I suggested emailing Diageo/Guinness USA. They also have an 800 number 1-866-438-7631 , but I've had poor results with those customer service reps.
    #25 jesskidden, Feb 24, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  26. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,731) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    This thread brings back old memories. I remember buying Killarney's in college. At the time I had no clue that it was made by AB. No clue if it really was any good, but I definitely preferred it to Killian's way back then.
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  27. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,202) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    When I worked retail I heard this all of the time from my customers who had just returned from their very own touristy, roots-finding expeditions to the Emerald Isle. It always surprised me, too! But the setting has a lot to do with the experience of drinking the beer -- it's the same whether it be in Düsseldorf or Dublin (or anywhere in the Caribbean, for that matter.) Setting = romance and adventure, and memories which last a lifetime. :wink:
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  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    VBS - wasn't that it? "Vacation Beer Syndrome"? I often mention that the hoppiest US lager beer I ever tasted up to that point was a Michelob at the Columbus, Ohio AB brewery, circa late 1970s.

    (Yeah, times were rough back then, but I was vacationing - while on unemployment insurance - in Western PA, Ohio and Indiana. Hit every brewery I could, too - Jones, Pittsburgh, Straub, Hudepohl, Schoenling!)
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  29. Graeme24

    Graeme24 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2008 Ireland

    In all seriousness, I see where you are coming from and you can see this quite allot on these forums with folk travelling to Ireland. I also wouldn't have thought it would be hard to come by in the States. Good luck with your search. If you come up short I would be happy to help
  30. Feel_the_Darkness

    Feel_the_Darkness Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2012 Virginia

    Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA has it on tap in their little Ireland theme section of the park for some reason. I enjoy it every time I go up there. It definitely would be nice to find it for home purchase.

    I've always wanted to try Beamish, haven't ever seen it.
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  31. BlackNote

    BlackNote Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2013 Michigan

    I got it at the Raglan Road Irish Pub in Disney World's Downtown Disney a few years ago.
  32. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I would happily trade, although I have not done it personally, I do have friends who do trade, and it is something I would be open to, if you are interested let me know. I am not sure, what the process is exactly. I can find all the others, besides Kilkenny in my state, so I would prefer just to trade for Kilkenny, but I am in an area that has a robust beer market, if there is anything that is hard to obtain in your area I could certainly look for it.
  33. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,202) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I've traded in the past (and am somewhere between too crotchety and lazy to trade nowadays), but the Trading forums here are a good place to start -- plenty of helpful users, too. :wink:

    Just for reference, but I saw both 6-pack N.R. (bottles) and the 8-pack canned variety packs at my local Packie about an hour ago, so I'd expect that both are still be available in select markets in the Lower 48.
  34. TheSevenDuffs

    TheSevenDuffs Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Canada (ON)

    I'd be happy to trade too, but not in this weather.
  35. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    Thanks for the information. I totally understand not wanting to trade, that is why I have been hesitant myself. But the concept is somewhat intriguing. The reason I haven't is I can usually find anything I want around here, but this one is just nonexistent and since the holiday for imbibing of Irish brews is around the corner I felt like something different yet familiar. I have the whiskey side covered thankfully.
  36. dianimal

    dianimal Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2012 California

    I had Kilkenny on tap in San Diego probably a couple years ago. I think it's still around, but can't say for sure. Good luck on your quest
  37. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    An Update:

    This is the email I received from the Importer.

    Thank you for taking time to contact Kilkenny Draught. Your feedback is important to us.

    Regarding your inquiry; at the current time, we do not have an available listing of stores in your area that carry Kilkenny Draught.

    We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to contact your local retailer and inquire with them about placing an order for the product, or visit where you may inquire about ordering the product online for delivery.

    In the future, if you wish to locate retailers near you that carry DIAGEO products, please visit and click the "Where To Buy" link on the top right of the page. If there is anything else you require, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Once again, thank you for contacting Kilkenny Draught.

    Alright, here is my gripe, No shit! I already knew it wasn't available in my area, so basically they just repeated in an email what I had already told them. So to no avail. I guess, it is nice of them to respond, but it has no value as I already knew it wasn't available in my area, that is why I sent them the email. Oh, and the links they sent along with the email did not even list beer, or at least the 10 minutes I searched I couldn't find any. It was mostly liquors and wine. So, where does this leave me? Sans Kilkenny for St. Patricks Day this year, unless I somehow trip over a case that a leprechaun left on my front porch.
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  38. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (3,550) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    I checked and Indiana only has availability in 50L kegs.
  39. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Defender (660) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Good luck in your search. If you ever find/trade for it, you can certainly have it in appropriate glassware.

    And if you're ever near Cranford, NJ you'll have to stop in here
    #39 SudsDoctor, Feb 27, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  40. Tut

    Tut Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2004 New York

    No shit. Kilkenny isn't really worth a discussion. There are too many amateurs joining BA lately.
    Just wait though, one of them will chime in and call me an "elitist" or snob for having no respect for it. :wink:
    #40 Tut, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
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