Former Bewley’s managing director Patrick Bewley dies aged 77

Dubliner was the last member of the Bewley family to be involved in the coffee business

Patrick Bewley, a former managing director of the Bewley’s coffee and tea company, has died aged 77 after a long illness.

A great grandson of the company’s founder, Joshua Bewley, Mr Bewley was involved in the business for 53 years. He was the last member of the Bewley family to be involved in the business.

He is credited with importing the first Fairtrade certified coffee to Ireland in 1996, continuing the company tradition of sustainable and responsible practices.

Bewley’s was founded in 1840 with Mr Bewley’s grandfather Ernest expanding the business from Sycamore Alley to South Great George’s Street in Dublin, selling tea and sugar across the counter.


It started selling coffee wholesale out of its Westmoreland Street branch, but its primary focus remained the cafés. Mr Bewley’s father Joe raised Jersey cows, which produced the milk and cream used each day in the cafés.

Mr Bewley was born in 1944 in Knocksedan House, a farm in Swords, north Dublin. He was later enrolled in a Quaker school in Waterford and initially chose accountancy as his career, joining Stokes Bros & Pim, which later became KPMG.

Bewley’s career

In 1965 he joined Bewley’s, working behind the counter making coffee for six months, later moving to front of house, serving beans and ground coffee to the public. He became the manager of the Westmoreland Street café before serving as managing director of the company in 1977-2003.

Paddy Campbell, whose family acquired the Bewley’s business in 1986, forming the Campbell Bewley Group, paid tribute to Mr Bewley. “In his own quiet, determined way, Paddy Bewley made an immense contribution, not just to the success of Bewley’s over the past 35 years, but to improving the lives of others in need,” he said. “Paddy did tireless work for the Hospice Foundation and the Mendicity Institution amongst others.”

Jason Doyle, managing director of Bewley’s Tea & Coffee Ltd, said: “The value Paddy added over his lifetime, not only to our business but to the wider Irish coffee industry is incredible. Anyone who is anyone in the Irish coffee industry has come through the Paddy Bewley school of coffee. His enthusiasm and willingness to share his knowledge was always infectious and I wouldn’t have the love that I have for coffee today without Paddy.”

Mr Bewley is survived by his wife, Shirley Dagg, and sons Craig and Simon.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times