Food for thought: UK-Ireland trading, French flair and distillery opening

Business | Tue 16 May | Author – Business & Finance Jameson Distillery Bow St
Ray Dempsey, general manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the maturation house during the official opening of the ‘Jameson Distillery Bow St

The inside track on Ireland’s booming food and beverage industry. Edited by Colin White.

THE DISTILLERS

Irish Distillers has announced the reopening of the home of Jameson in Smithfield, Dublin, following a total investment of €11m.

The new look facility will support the Irish whiskey tourism strategy target of trebling the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9 million by 2025.

Speaking at the opening of Jameson Distillery Bow St, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “Each year, over 600,000 tourists pass through Irish whiskey visitor centres to experience first-hand the heritage behind this time-honoured spirit and hear the stories of established and emerging distilleries.

He continued: “The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy aims to treble this figure to 1.9 million visitors by 2025 and Jameson Distillery Bow St will undoubtedly play a central role in delivering on this vision. Smithfield and its wider Dublin environs have a rich history and vibrant cultural scene which will also continue to attract and visitors from near and far.”

Ray Dempsey, who has been general manager at the Jameson brand home in Smithfield since its opening in 1997, added: “We have had the privilege of calling Bow Street home since 1780 and we’re delighted with our new makeover. Visitors can look forward to immersive storytelling where they will be invited to touch, smell and most importantly, taste Jameson in the original Bow Street Distillery building. As Smithfield continues to experience a cultural resurgence, we’re incredibly excited to be part of this thriving community and look forward to being here long into the future.”


CREAM OF THE CROP

CremorThe Avondhu Liqueur Company has announced the launch of Cremór Irish Cream Liqueur, an exciting new entry into the international drinks market. Unlike other cream liqueurs, the unique composition of the Irish-made Cremór allows it to easily float on any liquid, hot or cold, that is denser than water.

The premium liqueur is made with cream delivered daily from the famed dairy pastures of Cork’s Golden Vale, and locally sourced Irish whiskey. Cremór is stocked in selected SuperValu and Centra stores nationwide, at €19.99, with plans to roll out into the general retail and on-trade in the first half of 2017.

There are currently two flavours: The Original, which showcases the classic Irish cream flavours of whiskey and cream, with a hint of white chocolate; and the subtle sweetly-spiced warmth of Gingerbread.

REBEL YELL

Rebel Chilli

Cork company Rebel Chilli has been selected by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cork City as its representative at the 2017 National Enterprise Awards on May 25th in the Mansion House, Dublin.

Founder of Rebel Chilli, Paul Moore, will be in with a chance of winning one of 12 awards on offer and his share of the €40,000 national prize fund for his company that produces fresh chilli sauce in Cork city.

Moore is now selling to 300 stores in Ireland, including 50 Dunnes Stores outlets, Supervalu and Fallon & Byrne, to name but a few, as well as exporting to the UK and Dubai.

The National Enterprise Awards recognise and honour the success stories of small businesses and entrepreneurs around Ireland. Rebel Chilli was announced as the LEO Cork City nominee for the awards at a special presentation hosted during Local Enterprise Week.

In 2014 Rebel Chilli was awarded a gold Blas na hÉireann Award for ‘Best Sauce’, which boosted sales and also brought an investor on board, and in 2015 Dunne moved Rebel Chilli to a kitchen unit in Farranferris.

Having also recently won ‘Best Start Up’ in LEO Cork City’s search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), Dunne will be hiring his first employee in the next few months. He also has plans for Rebel Chilli to expand into the UK market.

THE CIDER HOUSE RULES

Craigies Falling AppleCarlow Brewing Company has announced their acquisition of Craigies Cider, and will add the Irish craft cider brand to its own portfolio of brands, which includes O’Hara’s Irish craft beers, and Falling Apple Irish craft cider. The sale includes Craigies cider production equipment, which will enable Carlow Brewing Company to bring all cider production in-house to the Bagenalstown-based microbrewery this year, and facilitate support of local apple growers and producers.

Commenting on the announcement, Seamus O’Hara, CEO of Carlow Brewing Company, said: “The brewery is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, and we are delighted to start 2017 with this expansion. We launched Falling Apple Cider in 2015, and the goal was to take the cider production in-house. The deal with Craigies has facilitated this objective. It will allow us to expand and innovate our Falling Apple range, and also continue to produce the Craigies cider range to the high standard their many fans expect.”

Members of the Craigies team will continue to be involved with the production and promotion of Craigies, lending their expertise and experience.

Carlow Brewing Company, which has been in existence for over 20 years, is Ireland’s leading craft beer producer, driven principally by the O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer brand.

A TOUCH OF FRENCH FLAIR

Jean Christophe Novelli at Belfast Harbour 002Renowned chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has given Belfast diners a flavour of the culinary expertise he’ll be bringing to Belfast when he opens his new signature restaurant in City Quays, the latest development at Belfast Harbour Estate with £250m earmarked for investment across the 20-acre site.

This will be the only restaurant the multi-Michelin-starred and AA Rosette award-winning chef will open on the island of Ireland, and will be part of the new £25m Marriott Hotel.

Ahead of the restaurant opening next year, Jean-Christophe showcased the food offering he’ll be serving up at the new venture, which will be known as Jean-Christophe Novelli at City Quays, in an event at the historic Harbour Commissioners office.

The Marriott Belfast is the city’s newest waterfront hotel development and will feature the 104-seat restaurant, as well as a bar, lounge, gym, meeting rooms and 190 luxury bedrooms.

Speaking as he launched the new restaurant plans, Novelli said Belfast and City Quays are perfect for his Ireland debut. “The city has a well-deserved reputation as a must-visit food destination, and I can’t wait to add my expertise to what is an already successful and thriving hospitality industry here.”

FREE TRADE BRIGADE

Free tradeFood Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food sector, has welcomed the call by 35 associations representing the UK food and drink supply chain for an early agreement on the UK-Ireland trading relationship.

FDI director Paul Kelly commented: “With 40% of total food and drink exports going to the UK, Ireland is four to six times more exposed than any other European country to Brexit. Supply chains in the food sector are deeply integrated between our two countries and the continued, uninterrupted flow of these supply chains are essential to the competitiveness of food and drink businesses on both islands.”

“That is why FDI are calling for Brexit negotiations to produce outcomes that support the closest possible economic and trading relationship between the EU and the UK.”

A commitment is required by both sides to negotiate an ambitious and balanced agreement that prioritises continued tariff and barrier free trade, long-term growth, investment and stability.

THE THRILL OF THE FAIR

HorizontThe Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair returned for a fifth time to The Convention Centre Dublin in late February, featuring a host of local and international craft beverages as well as local culinary delights.

Out of the 370 craft beers competing in The Dublin Craft Beer Cup, it was Saison Witbier from Horizont of Hungary that took home the top prize.

The saison wheat beer was an overwhelming favourite with the 28 independent judges. The Classic Pear Cider from McCashin’s Brewery of New Zealand also struck a chord with judges, particularly its perfect balance of sweetness and acidity and its impressive pear top notes, to win The Dublin Craft Cider Cup.

Also worthy of a notable mention is Rye River Brewing, which scooped 16 awards at the fair. Its Gold McGargles Double Bangin’ IPA and the Crafty Brewing Company American Style Pale Wheat Ale both beat off stiff competition from home and abroad to take home ‘Gold’ and ‘Best in Category’.