Nothing says Christmas quite like an Irish sausage

Limerick man will ship 60,000kg of sausages throughout US to satisfy that taste for home

 

Bill Colbert’s New Jersey-based business is proof emigrants can leave Ireland but never lose their appetite for home.

The Limerick man, now living in the United States for 25 years, will ship almost 60,000kg of breakfast sausages this Christmas in his Irish hampers, mostly to expats living across the US.

His company, Amboy Group, distributes his own branded Tommy Moloney’s Irish meat products to all 50 states in two days. “Just the other day we had a lady from Utah on the phone to us. She hadn’t been back to Ireland for close to 50 years. The girls were on the phone for at least 45 minutes,” said Mr Colbert.

“She wanted her sausages, her bacon, her white pudding, her black pudding, and she wanted the chat as well.”

Christmas is the busiest time of year for Colbert as requests come in from Ireland and the US looking for “a taste of home” with essential raw materials for a slap-up Irish breakfast on Christmas morning.

Jam, scones and Barry’s Tea often fill out the rest of the order for the Irish palate pining for home.

About 40 per cent of Amboy’s business is hampers, so Christmas brings plenty of orders. A popular item for corporate clients is an Irish salmon hamper.

Last year the company sent more than 18,000 hampers, a third of which were ordered by people in Ireland. The company’s website has more than 100,000 registered users and Colbert estimates at least half of those are Irish born.

Authentic taste

New Jersey

The business started at a butcher’s counter at a supermarket in New York 15 years ago. From there, Colbert moved into a factory of about 1,100sq m (12,000sq ft) in Queens to a facility 10 times that size – the former manufacturing base of Häagen-Dazs ice cream – in New Jersey two years ago.

Demands for boiling bacon for the traditional bacon and cabbage meal have soared this year, said Colbert, and black pudding is also in strong demand as chefs experiment with it in salads and starters.

“We get all sorts of requests, not even just Irish. Even though we’re known as the Irish meat company, I had a Scottish guy in South Carolina wonder if I could make some haggis for him,” he said. The hunger for home is not just an Irish thing.