Brother and sister’s brewing company and restaurant business thriving
Food File: Ethical coffee in Dublin; Kilkenny restaurant’s milestone; and alcohol-free fun
McHugh’s pub in Ennis serves tapas, cheeseboards, nachos, tacos and sliders, using Irish artisan produce.
Maeve Sheridan and her brother Michael Eustace run Western Herd Brewing Company from what was their family farm in Kilmaley, Co Clare, supplying craft beers to pubs and restaurants, including their own, McHugh’s, in Ennis, Co Clare.
“As the farm has been in our family for eight generations it was important for us to keep it going as a viable business, although neither of us wanted to get up at six to milk cows,” says Maeve, who previously worked in finance in Luxembourg for six years.
“The milking parlour now contains a cold storage unit and bottling machine. We do everything ourselves on-site. Over 90 per cent of our sales are within 50km of the brewery, from Monks in Ballyvaughan to The Long Dock in Carrigaholt. ”
They hired a head brewer from Seattle, and went into production three years ago, at the same time opening the pub. Last year they hired a chef, started to serve food, a mix of locally inspired tapas, as well as nachos, tacos and sliders.
Their next move is to start growing produce on the farm to supply the pub, and they are currently working with a horticulturist to put this in place.
When Gary Grant left behind a career in financial services a decade ago, he had no idea what he would do next. But after watching a documentary called Black Gold, about a coffee co-op trying to get better prices for coffee farmers, he decided to start a business selling coffee “as ethically as possible”.
Initially he sold coffee imported from the UK that was Fairtrade and organic but always had a hankering to roast his own, and achieved that aim last May. “When the UK voted for Brexit, I approached a good friend, Vincent Cahill of Lilliput Trading Company, and asked him to come on board with the new venture. You could say the roastery was in certain aspects born out of Brexit.”
Imbibe Coffee Roasters, based in Dublin 8 and supplying restaurants, coffee shops and retailers nationwide, upholds Grant’s ethical and sustainable ethos. It donates 1 per cent of turnover from coffee sales to Women’s Aid, which Grant says equates to just over 10 per cent of his take-home pay; 90 per cent of its production is organic, and it is actively pursuing a zero-waste delivery system.
In addition, it has just taken delivery of a batch of coffee made by a 59-member, all female co-op in Peru, which will be going into its Kaleidoscope blend. The co-op is part of the Café Femenino programme which works with thousands of women farmers in nine countries.
Grant contracted to buy the co-op’s entire European crop allocation, and it arrived with him last week. He describes it as having a flavour profile of “caramel and vanilla, with a citrus finish”. You will find a list of Imbibe stockists at imbibe.ie.
Ristorante Rinuccini’s milestone
Ristorante Rinuccini in Kilkenny launches its 30th birthday celebrations with a Barolo wine dinner on Tuesday, January 29th.
Enzo Brezza from Azienda Agricola Brezza Giacomo & Figli, winemakers, hoteliers and restaurant owners in the town of Barolo, will introduce a selection of the estate’s wines, paired with eight courses of typical Piedmontese dishes cooked by executive head chef Antonio Cavaliere.
The dinner is the first of a series of special events to mark the restaurant’s milestone anniversary. Tickets are €80 and can be booked at rinuccini.com. Dinner is at 7pm.
Today and tomorrow you can visit the Bar For When You’re Off The Beers, on South Anne Street in Dublin 2. There is a cinema in the basement, house DJs each evening – Marcus O’Laoire tonight and Conor Behan tomorrow, supplying the tunes for a workout session with Nathalie Lennon. The fitness class and the brunch which follows are free to attend, but you’ll have to register in advance on Eventbrite.
The weekend rounds off with an alternative date night, hosted by drag queen Davina Devine and a date night disco. There will be free beer too –non-alcoholic Pure Brew and a range of small batch experimental beers also with zero alcohol. The beer snacks are complimentary too.