Looks like it – launched in July 2010 it is a group of consumers set up to encourage Micro Breweries in Ireland. Check out their directory of Craft Brewers: http://www.beoir.org/index.php?option=com_sobi2&catid=7&Itemid=79
Beoir – a welcome addition to the food scene in Ireland.
*quick rant – yet another great Irish food brand without a website. This one is going for 10 years, employs nearly 20 people (as far as I can tell) and has just started a great new line with the UK in their sites. And no website to support that growth. Words fail me, seriously. There is an address on their packaging but it does not exist. And it used to, I saw it. Enough, end of rant*
I met the founder of this business years ago (Joe Callery) and he is passionate about the quality of what they do. Production of their lines for people who have allergies is taken seriously – the line is closed down and steam cleaned to remove all traces of previous raw materials before a Dairy Free batch is made. That was then and it would not surprise me if they have dedicated lines now.
Their chocolates are award winning at the Great Taste Awards and they have some Fairtrade products as well. however the standout for me right now is the Vegan Caramel Choices – truely the best non-dairy soft toffee which I have tasted (check out the core raw material here). These are available around Ireland and should be in the UK as well. Check them out.
UPDATE – have just published an entry for Celtic on the Irish FoodBase: http://irishfoodbase.com/celtic-chocolates-meath/
This is one of the bigger businesses to be featured here – and also one of the oldest. The 6th generation of the Flahavan family run this business and they produce a range of products derived from Irish Oats.
From this 1st generation business come a range of organic bread, gluten free bread and then cake mixes. I have tried the bread mixes and made a tasty loaf!
Earlier posts in this series:
Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Mags Kirwan and her husband Ger run Goatsbridge Premium Irish Trout in Kilkenny, Ireland and they are currently building out an extension to their facility which Mags is keeping a photo diary of via her twitter account – http://twitter.com/goatsbridge
They are dedicated to good food and passionate advocates of anything and everything which supports that. That focus helped to win Mags the title of Female Entrepreneur of the Year last Friday in Waterford.
Cramers Grove Ice Cream
A number of the businesses featured in this series were started by farmers who needed to diversify and have done so by developing strong packaged food brands.
Nigel and Carol Harper produce ice cream and sorbets in batches from their family dairy darm and they have flavours such as Pina Colada, Rum & Raisin and Tiramis!
Earlier posts in this series:
Oldtown Hill Bakehouse
Chocolate is nice but bread is fundamental and a country without a network of local bakers is missing something. Because Ireland has stopped training craft bakers Oldtown is staffed with bakers from countries such as Poland.
Oldtown (Joy Moore, above with her daughter and her husband James) was started in 1999 and has developed a large range of breads which are sold within 75 miles of the bakery. A very recent addition is Dolly’s donuts (yummy):
Check out this brief TV clip of them. They do not have a website so cannot point you at one 😦
This is a more recent product – 2010 in fact.
2 flavours -Mount Callan Cheese & Red Onion and Irish Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt (tangy and tasty). Cheese from Co Clare and Cider Vinegar using apples from Co Tipperary (where O’Donnells are based). This is how food should be produced.
Their website is here: http://www.odonnellscrisps.com/
UPDATE – there is now a listing for O’Donnell Crisps on the Irish Food Base: http://irishfoodbase.com/odonnell-crisps/
My previous post from the Harvest Festival is here. The main website for the festival is here.
One of the minor complications of being a vegan trapped in a foodie body is that I will never get to taste the vast majority of foods I blog about (or in some case the foods of clients I work with). Tough, others enjoy the taste and I enjoy the passion and zest for quality of product, service and brand.
Ummera are Smokers in Cork and they pulled a 3 star Gold Award at the Great Taste awards in the UK in July. That is not easily done and a great compliment to them.
Check out their site – where they also share the frustrations of small food producers being hampered by legislation.
I spent a couple of hours with my family at the Amazing Grazing event today – part of a 9 day food festival held in the city of Waterford.
While time was spent eating and sampling I also chatted to a number of the food entrepreneurs who were there – some known to me and some new. I will feature them in a number of posts over the next week or so in the order I found them on the day!
The post started with a general shot of the crowd and day – they estimated that up to 40,000 people would turn up to visit over 100 food stands.
Patrick O’Connell does one product and does it well – a crunchy breakfast cereal which was kick started while he was still a student. The kids loved the taste of it. Read more on the Good Food Ireland site about him.
Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese
Helen Finnegan started this cheese business in 2004 and has grown it by a combination of internal product development and also taking over the production of another local cheese product in 2008. Read more on her site here.
One of the struggles for growers is to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Broadly speaking the market does not care about the variety/source/grower of something – they are presented as homogenous offerings.
Living Flavour is an Irish herb brand developed by a 3rd generation Plant Nursery business. It is complimented by a nicely designed and delivered website.
One of the many things I got used to in England was the variety of beers which were brewed in small, local breweries and encouraged by groups such as CAMRA.
Ireland was a wasteland in 1995 when I returned and it was many years before a momentum built up which would see consumers pull away from the output of the multinationals who owned the market.
Cormac O’Dwyer and Tom Dalton are responsible for one of the newest additions to the scene. They started the Dungarvan Brewing Company in April 2010 and are getting great reviews for their products.
Good bread was almost destroyed in Ireland – with a rush to the supermarkets to purchase white sliced pans or par-baked wonder loafs the art of baking almost disappeared.
Fortunately there remain a number of bakers with a long heritage (Keoghs in my local area being one of those) and some newcomers such as Blazing Salads. They have a great selection from a family with a 30 year+ background in good food.
[photo courtesy of the Organic Supermarket where you can purchase this bread online, the Blazing Salads website does not have a single decent photo of the breads]