As part of our series on how to ‘buy Irish’ online for Christmas 2023, here are 43 drinks businesses to check out for festive gift ideas.
With an estimated 70pc of online shopping purchases made overseas, it is vital we support Irish SMEs.
1721 Spirits is a dynamic young drinks company based in Co Laois. Intent on innovating and shaking up the existing drinks business, the business builds on the heritage of past times, bringing age old practices and traditions into a modern era. Its DV8 Gold Cream Liqueur was produced in 2015 winning Best Cream Liqueur 2019 at the Irish Whiskey Awards.
Armagh Cider Company is owned by Philip and Helen Troughton of Ballinteggart House, outside Portadown. The Troughton family have been growing apples there for five generations since 1898, though the family farm has also been home to a hugely successful sport horse breeding and stud business for over 20 years.
While they knew they had a great raw ingredient – their own apples – they initially didn’t know much about cider making, so enlisted the services of master cider maker Keith Knight in England, who used Ballinteggart apples and worked closely with them to produce our own bespoke cider.
The first cider from Armagh Cider Company was introduced to the market in January 2006 as ‘Carsons Cider’, but the company has evolved over the past years and its product range has been substantially enhanced in response to consumer demand.
Founded by Morgan Ging and his wife Ann, Ballykeefe Distiller was born out of a long-held desire to produce gin and then whiskey on the family farm in Kilkenny. Ballykeefe Distillery is an award-winning producer of gins and vodkas with national and worldwide acclaim and last year produced its very first triple-distilled whiskey, including single malt, pot still and rye.
With most of their signature Bertha’s Revenge milk gins named in memory of a local legend – a Droimeann cow from Sneem in Kerry who lived to 49 and who in her lifetime gave birth to 39 calves – Ballyvolane Spirits is the brainchild of two lifelong friends Justin Green and Antony Jackson. Borne out of a shared passion for food and drink, coupled with many years spent in the world of catering, hospitality, marketing, and wine, it just seemed like a good time to come together and become active players in the wonderful world of small-batch distilling. Products include gin, sloe gin, crab apple gin, navy strength gin, marmalades and hedgerow gins.
Beercloud was established at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak and sells craft beers online from regional brewers. The platform was established by Liam Tutty of Dead Centre Brewing after he found his pub and restaurant clients were shutting their doors. It now sells cases of beer to consumers from more than 50 labels including Dead Centre, Ballykilcavan, Black Donkey, 12 Acres, DOT Brew, Boundary, Dungarvan, Kildare Brewing Company, Lineman, Reel Deal, St Mel’s, Third Barrel, Western Herd and Scott’s Irish Cider, to name a few.
David and Lisa Walsh-Kemmis opened Ballykilcavan Brewing Company in 2018 on their 13th generation family farm near Stradbally, Co. Laois. The brewery is based in a 240 year old stone grain store at Ballykilcavan and all the beers are brewed with barley and water from the farm, with a small hop garden providing some of the hops as well. The beers are brewed, fermented and packaged on site and have won nine awards at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup. They are sold in pubs, off-licences and restaurants around Ireland, throughout Northern Italy and in South West France.
In April 2022, David and Lisa converted a 200-year-old mill building into a new visitor centre and tasting room, and they now welcome visitors from all over the world to the brewery. Over the last 12 months, the company has been certified as a Gold member of Origin Green, won the Small Firms Association sustainability award, the PwC / Sunday Business Post award for best small to medium sustainable business and the Laois Business Award for sustainability and climate action.
Based on the banks of the Blackwater River in west Waterford, Blackwater Distillery crafts a range of spirits including award-winning gins, vodkas and traditional pot still Irish whiskey. The company won Gold at Blas last year for its Boyle’s Raspberry & Cloudy lemonade a Bronze for its Boyle’s Gin & Elderflower Tonic in the spirits and liqueurs with added mixers category. Deliveries in the Republic of Ireland are free on orders over €60.
Richard Siberry and Michaela Dillon founded Black Donkey Brewing in 2014. The brewery produces a core range of four artfully crafted beers, including a lager, an IPA, an amber ale and their original release, Sheep Stealer, a traditional farmhouse style ale. In 2021, Black Donkey released the “Underworld” beer series; a range of three beers fermented with a wild local yeast. This yeast, which was harvested from a cave in Co Roscommon, is exclusive to Black Donkey Brewing, and lends their beers a true sense of place. In early 2023 the first of their long-term barrel matured beers, “Phraseology” was released to very favourable reviews. There will be three additional barrel aged beer releases this year, some of which have been maturing for up to three years.
The company’s mission statement is simple: “Black Donkey is on a mission to craft world class, traditional, natural beers, valuing quality, originality and our consumers satisfaction above quantity or price”. Their multi award winning beers are stocked by all the best beer sellers in the west of Ireland, and are also available directly from the brewery’s own web shop.
Based in Drumshambo, Co Leitrim, Blakes Always Organic manufactures its products from organic ingredients sourced locally wherever possible, ensuring that its products are ethically produced and full of flavour.
Seamus McMahon set up Brehon Brewhouse as a way to diversify his dairy farm in 2014. After receiving a grant from the Monaghan Enterprise Centre, Seamus worked with consultant Phil Bizzell, a founding member of Beer Ireland, to create his first product Brehon Blonde. Now with a wide and diverse range of ales and stouts available, the Dunelty based business has received several prestigious awards, including the Irish Whiskey Aged Craft Beer Gold Award and the Dublin Craft Beer Cup Award in 2019. As well as a strong domestic reputation, Brehon Brewhouse also has a wide international reach, exporting to countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and the US. Seamus now offers tours of his brewery and farm with a tasting session at the end in the cottage, a sight which needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Coole Swan is “a unique blend of single malt Irish whiskey, Belgian white chocolate and fresh dairy cream. A taste experience that lingers for you to savour and enjoy. Made in Ireland, and only in Ireland, Coole Swan is a meticulously crafted liqueur made with heart.” Its products are available in more than 50 locations worldwide including several in John Lewis stores in the UK in addition to several retail outlets in Germany. Its liqueur has received over 50 awards worldwide including their prestigious Australian International Spirits Competition, World Liqueur Awards and Irish Whiskey Awards and with more than 60,000 fans on social media the brand is set for further expansion in 2022.
A taste of the Kerry landscape in the form of a London dry style gin with a range of botanicals including Rowan Berry, Fuscia, Bog Myrtle, Heather, Chervil & Hawthorn. Dingle Gin won the coveted accolade of ‘Best Gin’ at the World Gin Awards in 2019 and is the perfect spirit for a classic G&T or to create a festive Bramble cocktail at home. The award Winning Dingle Vodka is noted for being quintuple distilled and is charged with 500 litres of the finest, purest, grain alcohol. Dingle Vodka is the perfect spirit drank neat or mixed. Dingle Gin and Vodka are available at DingleDistillery.ie, IrishMalts.com, Celtic Whiskey Shop and across independent off licenses nationwide.
As well as being celebrated for its gin and its vodka, this artisan distillery has now evolved to making its own single malt whiskey, marking a watershed moment in the story of Irish whiskey and a revival of the whiskey industry in Ireland. The distillery picked up a Gold at the 2020 Blas na hEireann Awards for its Single Pot Still Third Release in the dark spirits and liqueurs category as well as a Gold for its original gin in the white spirits and liqueurs category. The business picked up a Silver at the 2021 Blas for its Dingle Single Malt in the Dark Spirits and Liqueurs category.
Five Farms is a Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur exclusively sourced and produced in County Cork.
It was recently reported that the business expects sales of its tipple to triple to €60m within three-to-five years as part of its global expansion.
The business is understood to have sold 700,000 bottles this year.
Led by Johnny Harte in partnership with the Missouri-based McCormick Distilling Company, the drink has 15% butterfat content and 10% Irish whiskey, which is 10 times the industry average for Irish cream liqueurs.
Created by young Limerick natives Alice Carroll and Tony Foote, Foxes Bow Whiskey is a blended Irish whiskey aged in Bourbon barrels and finished in Oloroso and Rye casks. The inclusion of rye casks in the whiskey’s finish lends a floral bouquet to the whiskey’s nose, while providing an interesting lingering spice to the palette. Beginning with a burst of fruity sherry flavours, followed by a wave of spice and perfectly finished with a lingering velvety vanilla sweetness. Foxes Bow Whiskey is available online through irishmalts.com.
Highbank Orchards is home to the original and innovative and multi-award winning Highbank Orchard Syrup. They also produce several delicious Apple juices, including an acclaimed non-alcoholic Drivers Cider as well as Highbank Proper Cider and Medieval Cider, matured on their wild yeasts with no added sulphites. The distillery also produces Highbank Organic Apple Spirits – the first Irish and Kilkenny Organic Apple gin known as Highbank Crystal Gin, Highbank Orchard Spirit, Highbank Orchard Liqueur Brandy and Highbank Organic Apple Vodka. The business picked up a Silver at the 2021 Blas na hEireann Awards for its Drivers Cider in the non-alcoholic carbonated drinks category as well as a Silver in the Special Ciders category for its Medieval Cider not to mention a Chef’s Larder accolade for its Organic Irish Treacle.
Irish Distillers, producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, has just launched the Midleton Distillery Collection corporate gifting service for businesses.
Midleton Distillery Collection, Irish Distillers’ direct-to-consumer e-commerce site, brings together the company’s full portfolio of Irish whiskeys including Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, Powers, the Spot Whiskeys, Method and Madness and Knappogue Castle for customers in select markets around the world to purchase and enjoy.
Midleton Distillery Collection’s new corporate gifting service is designed specifically for corporate users who wish to gift colleagues, customers, clients or business partners throughout the year to mark company successes and milestones or to celebrate seasonal holidays such as Christmas.
Businesses can make bespoke orders from Irish Distillers’ selection of whiskeys across seven global brands, as well as personalised gifts, merchandise, office-focused items, such as notebooks and water bottles and an exclusive corporate range, reserved for customers who have a corporate gifting account with Midleton Distillery Collection.
The company was founded by former Diageo executive Louise McGuane who returned from Singapore in 2012 to establish Chapel Gate on the family farm under the JJ Corry brand, based on a whiskey bonder from Kilrush. Chapel Gate Whiskey products sold under the JJ Corry brand include The Gael Irish whiskey, The Flintlock single malt and The Battalion, a blended whiskey influenced by mezcal and tequila.
Killahora Orchards’ Rare Apple Ice Wine is made from rare, bittersweet apples mostly grown in its 200-year-old Orchards in Cork. As well as the wine it also produces a range of popular ciders, including Johnny Fall Down Early Apples and Late Apples Cider, a Fine Perry and a Pom’O.
Kinsale Mead Co was founded by Kate and Denis Dempsey in 2016 to rediscover the ancient art of mead making and to create a world-class range of light and refreshing drinks. The business sells a range of meads including Atlantic Dry Mead, Wild Red Mead and a Hazy Summer Mead. It sells online and offers free shipping in Ireland and the UK. Kinsale Mead Co won a Silver at the Blas in 2020 in the fermented category for its Wildflower Mead. In the 2021 Blas awards it won a Silver for its Wild Red Mead.
It began with a father and son in Portrush who built their own nano-brewery, in order to discover just exactly how their favourite beers were made and they soon began to invent their own distinct recipes. To make this commercially viable, discussion turned towards investigating the establishment of the brewery as a co-operative.
Interest in the brewery expanded amongst the north coast communities as soon as others heard about the venture. Ideas and proposals became a constant feature, and discussion and consensual decision-making became the core of the brewery as much as the beer recipes, that were being revised and improved. A community-owned co-operative brewery was formed.
Built around the ethos of people coming together, the brewery has a range that includes pale ales, table beers, stouts, milk stouts, IPAs, sour beers, pilsners, steam beers, barley wines, lagers and dark ales that can all be bought online.
As well as being a popular venue for getaways and events, Longueville House’s owners the O’Callaghans have developed a fine tradition of making their own ciders and apple brandies incorporating a “blossom-to-bottle” ethos to ensure authenticity and sustainability. Longueville won a Bronze at the 2020 Blas for its Longueville House Mór Cider.
Lough Gill Brewery is an independent family run brewery based in Sligo, that restored the art of breweries to a town that once hosted five breweries. Lough Gill began in 2016 with a quest for better beer.
“We crave adventure and find inspiration all around us from our location along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way,” says James Ward. “Since then, we’ve grown into a craft brewery with Distribution Nationwide here in Ireland and we work with distribution partners in Holland, NI, Italy, France, Japan, Russia, Spain and the USA. We are very excited to be part of Ireland’s growing craft beer scene. We brew a range of stouts, ales, lagers and also one off single batch releases. You can find our beers on tap locally in many of the fine bars and restaurants we have here in Sligo.”
McEntee’s Fine Teas is a family business run by married couple Donal and Helen McEntee in Co. Louth, Ireland. The company’s Irish Afternoon Tea won Gold at last year’s Blas na Eireann Irish Food Awards. Its online store features a range of teas form breakfast and afternoon teas to hot infusions, green tea, accessories and more.
Old Carrick Mill Distillery was established in 2014 and is based in Carrickmacross at the Old Barton Mill, The Mill was home to the famous Barton family who left Ireland 300 years ago and set up what is known today as the B&G vineyard in Bordeaux. At the distillery they distil the international award-winning Old Carrick Mill Small Batch Gin and The May-Lóag Irish whiskey that is exported to five markets with five more markets coming onstream in 2023. During the the pandemic the company stopped all production of spirits to make hand sanitiser and gifted more than €500,000 to charities, GPs and any group that needed it. Old Carrick Mills’ newest whiskey is about to hit the shelves this summer. It has been fully aged in the B&G gifted oak barrels.
One of Ireland’s longest-standing craft breweries, Porterhouse Brew Co delivers cans, bottles and merchandise across the island of Ireland, including mixed packs of its famous beers. In 2020 the business won Gold in the beer and lager category at the Blas for its Pils as well as Gold and Silver in the porter and stout category for its Oyster Stout and Plain Porter respectively. In the 2021 Awards it won Gold for its Hammer Pilsner and a Silver for its Irish Stout.
In early 2017 brothers John and James Murphy, created their brand in their native Portmagee in Co Kerry, in a former Royal Irish Constabulary building that was burned down during the war of independence. Later in 2017 Stuart McNamara, Irish whiskey blogger from IrishWhiskey.com also joined as a co-founder. In 2018 the founders launched their Portmagee 9 Whiskey brand and in 2020 they launched Portmagee Whiskey Experience and Seine Boat Visitor Centre at Barrack Hill, Portmagee. Now on the SuperValu Food Academy, the company has big plans for the future; as well as having a great emphasis on sustainability with zero waste and a commitment to using locally sourced produce in all of their products.
Rascals Brewing Company is a craft brewery, visitor centre and taproom in Inchicore, Dublin. The business produces a range of core beers as well as mini kegs and offers free delivery on orders above €60.
Independent Irish coffee roaster Roasted Brown responded to the Covid-19 crisis by moving to sell its coffee online, offering a delivery service. In addition, and to support businesses across the country, Roasted Brown launched the ‘Our Shop is Their Shop’ initiative which allows customers buying online to nominate their regular coffee shop and buy from them, via Roasted Brown, who process the sale on behalf of the cafés.
In the vanguard of the craft beer revival of recent years in Ireland, Rye River Brewery launched the McGargles brand in 2013 and has since grown the business to employ more than 40 people, producing a range of more than 20 beers under the Solas, Crafty Brewing Company, Grafters and McGargles brands. It also opened its brewery to the public and fans can buy brewery tours and various merchandise online. At the Blas this year it won a Silver for its Solas Session IPA and a Gold for its Crafty Brewing Company Irish Stout.
Made from natural apples grown in County Cavan, Scotts Cider is the brainchild of Jonathan Scott and is now a family-run business. The company now has five different cider products to choose from and all of their ciders are vegan friendly and gluten free, made with no artificial colours or flavourings. They’ve collected an impressive array of awards including a gold at the Irish Food Awards, A Gold at the Great Taste Awards and an award at the World Cider Awards.
Created from a full-time team of traditional cider makers, Stonewell Cider in Cork produce a fine range of dry ciders and tawny as well as non-alcoholic ciders. It operates a delivery service in Co Cork as far west as Skibbereen. The business won Gold at the 2020 Blas for its 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Cider as well as another Gold for its Apple and Passion Fruit Cider.
Meath-based The Studio imports and roasts a wide range of award-winning single origin specialty grade coffees sourced from Africa and Latin America. The mission of the company is to small-batch roast coffee with exceptional flavour from its state-of-the-art roastery.
Established in 2019, The Limerick Spirits Company emerged to reinstate Limerick’s esteemed position in the whiskey world, inspiring a revitalization through the revival of the Thomond Gate Whiskey brand. With an unwavering dedication to restoring provenance and curating superior whiskey, the company collaborates with award-winning distilleries to produce classical styles of Irish Pot Still whiskey, and has proudly planted its first crop of Limerick barley.
Supported by the Limerick Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland, New Frontiers program, and the Back for Business initiative, the Limerick Spirits Company also raises independent funds, offering a limited number of casks containing this year’s new-make spirit to discerning buyers globally.
The business recently revealed “The Clash of the Ash”, its newly crafted, limited-edition whiskey that is not just a beverage but an embodiment of triumph, tradition, and meticulous craftsmanship, matured for 6 captivating years.
“The Clash of the Ash” carries within it a melody of flavours, starting with a base of sweet, creamy vanilla and toasted oak from its initial bourbon cask maturation, mingling with the dark cherries and ripe plums of its Amarone cask heritage, and culminating in the robust dark chocolate and roasted malt character from an Imperial Stout cask finish.
One of Ireland’s oldest businesses, the pub has held a licence since 1861. This historic pub is renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, famous pint of stout, live music and extensive selection of whiskey, Irish craft beer, and gin. With over 200 whiskies, including premium Irish, Scotch, Japanese and bourbon. Connolly’s caters for whiskey enthusiasts and hosts regular whiskey tasting events in the pub. They have released a series of single cask whisky from the local Lough Gill Distillery.
In addition to whiskey, Thomas Connolly offers a growing collection of small batch, premium Irish and international gins, complete with premium tonics, mixers and fresh garnishes. The pub takes pride in showcasing local and national craft beers on tap and has even collaborated to create their own Thomas Connolly IPA and Red Ale on draught.
Thomas Connolly has a range of European red, white, rose and prosecco wines by the glass or the bottle. Connolly believes in choice and so gluten-free and non-alcoholic drinks are well stocked. They will also happily prepare a fresh ground or speciality coffee of your choice.
The recently won Pub Of The Year – All Ireland Winner – 2023 and was recommended as one of twenty pubs in Ireland to visit by Lonely Planet Guides.
Based in Ballymote in County Sligo, The White Hag became Sligo’s first homegrown
brewery in more than 100 years when it opened in 2013. Since then it has launched more than 120 different beers and ciders and a range of branded merchandise. Their beers have an eye for detail and are brewed with a nod to the ancient ways of brewing alcohol in the county.
They have won global beer awards from Beoir, Ratebeer and Untappd platforms.
The team launched a crowd funded barrel aged programme, where they implemented a “adopt a barrel” campaign so their customers could get their own unique beer from one of their 300 aged-oak barrels.
The campaign was so successful they exceeded their target by 100 barrels. The White Hag opened an airport bar in partnership with Dublin Airport in December 2021, and provide beer to Lidl, Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Supervalu, as well as nationwide distribution via Maxol petrol stations.
They are also about to open a taproom at its brewery.
Founded by former Intel manufacturing engineer Stephen Cuneen, Treat City Brewery is bringing the art of brewing back to Limerick. Prior to the outbreak Cuneen put his home city on the map for beer, having refurbished a premises opposite King John’s Castle in Limerick.
Established in 2017 in a Cork city café, Velo Coffee Roasters has grown to a purpose-designed facility on the fringe of the city after its success with the Grow with Aldi campaign. It sells a variety of coffee, coffee beans, coffee makers, accessories and more, all online. Velo won Gold at the Blas in 2020 for its Velo Rangagirl Catuai India blend. This year at Blas Velo achieved Silver for its El Salvador Finca Las Mercedes coffee.
Representing Ireland’s first foray into vermouth, this sweet artisanal vermouth is made with locally foraged plants and herbs found along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Anna and Orla O’Carroll are the wife and wife team behind the new drinks brand.
They completed SuperValu’s Food Academy and launched their vermouth onto shelves in Ireland in 2021.
Viking Irish Drinks at Dennison’s Farm was set up as a company in 2017, with cider production commencing in 2019. At the heart of the company is three unique craft cider styles, based on old farm recipes, including Medium Dry Orchard Cuvée, the immensely popular Harvest Blush and Ireland’s first Hop flavoured cider, Hop-IT.
Established by entrepreneur David Dennison, Viking Irish Drinks is sold online and in a wide range of independent off-licences and supermarkets, bars, and restaurants. Since May 2021, Viking Irish Drinks is part of SuperValu’s prestigious Food Academy Programme.
Have you heard of Irish wines? No? Well you have now. Wicklow Way Wines produce Irish berry wines made from the pure juice of Irish berries, including wines made from strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. The company won Gold in the fermented category at Blas in 2020 for its Móinéir Blackberry Wine.