Bewley’s sells UK coffee business to ‘focus’ on Republic

Yorkshire-based roasting and distribution sold to long-term partner

Irish coffee group Bewley’s has sold its UK coffee roasting and distribution operation to “focus” on a revamp of its business in the Republic.

The group, owned by Paddy Campbell, said on Thursday that its long-term partner in the UK, Cafédirect, will take over its Yorkshire-based roastery and distribution operation, with Bewley’s to supply the company’s retail product on an exclusive basis.

A sale price has not been disclosed. The company behind the business, Bewley’s Tea and Coffee UK, reported turnover of more than £12.8 million (€14.9 million) in the year to the end of 2021.

The Bewley’s UK operation was mainly focused on the sale and distribution of its Grumpy Mule coffee brand to third-party cafes and other “out-of-home” outlets, the group said, while Cafédirect is a “leading brand” in the UK’s “at-home” coffee market.


Jason Doyle, Bewley’s Coffee and Tea managing director, said the deal will allow the group to “really focus on changing the face” of the Irish business after it unveiled a rebranding of its product here last week.

The new-look Bewley’s packaging is “aimed at refreshing the brand to capture a wider demographic”, it said in a statement.

“As our relationship [with Cafédirect] has grown over 15 years, it has become apparent that we are strategically placed to assist each other with our separate long-term goals,” said Mr Doyle. “This leaves the Irish team to really focus on changing the face of Bewley’s in Ireland, where we are constantly innovating and investing in our team, our brand and our manufacturing facility.”

John Steel, chief executive of Cafédirect, said the exclusivity agreement with Bewley’s helps to “future-proof” the company’s coffee supply.

“We have always enjoyed a very close relationship with the Bewley’s team and business and a key reason for this is that, among other things, we share a lot of common values across both of our businesses,” he said.

Mr Doyle said that Bewley’s is seeing a “strong performance” in the State in 2023.

Bewley’s Ltd, the main company in the group, reported a small €361,000 profit for 2021 in its most recent set of accounts after sinking to a Covid-driven loss of €6.5 million in 2020.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times