10 tasty Tipperary food and drinks businesses to watch

Barry Walsh casts his eye on 10 food and drinks businesses from Tipperary that are pursuing excellence.

As Ireland’s largest inland county Tipperary is noted for its fertile land and boasts an area known as “the Golden Vale”, a rich pastoral stretch of land celebrated as one of the richest agricultural areas in Ireland.

This no doubt plays a pivotal role in the formation of local artisan businesses that can use the natural environments and local ingredients to strong effect, creating a diverse range of products.

Here are 10 to watch:

Borrisoleigh Bottling

Carton of water.

Founded in late 2017 by a group of local entrepreneurs, and situated at the foothills of the scenic Devil’s Bit mountain, on the edge of the small village of Borrisoleigh in North Tipperary, Borrisoleigh Bottling Ltd.’s (BBL) set about growing a water production company with a difference.

This is one that looked to new and more innovative packaging techniques that would reduce/eliminate the levels of plastic in that industry. In 2020 it became Ireland’s first (and only) producer of carton water products and has grown this sector of its business significantly with a mixture of own brand and private label products for both domestic and export markets.

These cartons are primarily (88%) made from plant-based renewable materials and are recyclable through the standard recycling process.

The company sports two flagship brands – W.B. Yeats and HyGo with the former targeted mainly at the hospitality/food service sectors and the latter towards the retail sector. It also provides branded products to many of Ireland’s finest hotels, a market that has embraced the sustainability characteristics of the carton.

Home to the source that produced Ireland’s first certified natural mineral water and winner of seven international gold medals for excellence, BBL’s unique selling proposition is offering a superb natural water, from an age-old artesian well, in carton and glass packaging that reflects a sensitivity for the environment. In that context, in 2023, it won a British Bottlers Institute Gold (BBI) medal for its packaging (HyG0 500ml carton) along with further awards for its water quality.

Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers


Cashel Blue cheese.

Based on a 200-acre farm in Beechmount Co Tipperary, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers have been making cheese for almost 40 years. Their website states: “When Louis and Jane Grubb set out to make Cashel Blue in the early 1980s, their ambition was to create a farmhouse cheese that ‘truly represents the outstanding quality of Tipperary grass-fed milk.’

Today, 40 years later and in the hands of the second generation, Cashel Blue is still made by hand on the same 200 acre farm; Beechmount, in Co. Tipperary, Ireland.”

Although the business was launched in 1984 the story of Cashel Farmhouse cheesemakers goes back to the 19th century, when the Grubb family, a Quaker family living in the south-east of Ireland, owned and ran several successful mills in counties Tipperary. Louis returned to the farm in 1979 with his new wife, Jane, and the couple invested everything they had to buy a dairy herd of 90 cows. The following year, Jane begian to experiment, making several varieties of cheese after attending a cheesemaking course. The experiments will continue for the next four years but, in the meantime, Jane begins to sell cheeses at the local country market in Fethard.

The company has now won more than 100 awards for its cheeses from some of the most prestigious names in food in Ireland, UK, Europe and Worldwide competitions. They are available in stockists all around the world and in more recent years they have an emphasis of sustainability and community from their local community in Co Tipperary.

Cashel Fine Foods (The Butcher’s Daughter)

Women talking at a food event.

Known as “The Butcher’s Daughter” Una O’Dwyer grew up in a family of sisters, watching their father in his butcher shop in the 1970s. With all that knowledge and know-how Una developed a range of recipes, tips and products, and entered the traditionally male dominated world.

Una and her husband Martin now has a range of their ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’ brand which includes sausages and white and black puddings.

She states: “From my father’s original sausage recipe to my celebrated and awarded gourmet range, every juicy mouthful is 100% Irish and made with 100% Bord Bia Quality Assured Pork.”

Now employing 13 people, The Butcher’s Daughter range can be found in Dunnes Stores nationwide, their own shop in Cashel Co Tipperary and almost 50 stockists nationwide.

Crowe’s Farm

Crowe's Farm logo showing a pig eating grass.

Originally founded in 1981 Crowe’s farm has been an independent family run business ever since. The four brothers involved in the business provide the best quality pork, bacon and organic poultry from their Landrace pigs.

“We use traditional farming methods which is sympathetic to the pigs welfare given the Irish climate. This ensures both quality and a unique and diverse range of breeds to stock on our shelves. Each animal is slow reared to ensure healthy happy pigs who have the opportunity to access the outdoors ad-hoc.”

The award-winning brand prides itself on farm to fork traceability and their produce are distributed to some of the most prestigious restaurants and delis across Ireland. They also have an online store where they hand package their products and deliver it directly to your door in the local area. Their other products include store cupboard essentials such as handmade pasta sauces, seasonal chutneys, specialty chilli sauces and organic porridge oats as well as traditional condiments including dressings and Irish Atlantic sea salt.

Jim Mac Whiskey

Bottle of Jim Mac Whiskey surrounded by hurls.

The Jim Mac Whiskey team got in contact with me to say “in 1936, the man that became the legend, Jim McDonnell, was born in the shadow of the Devil’s Bit Mountain in Gurtagarry, Co.Tipperary. Jim Mac was a publican, crafts man, patriarch, confidant; the friend you want, the rival you don’t. Warrior on the hurling field, gentleman off it. He welcomed one and all to his pub, known locally as ‘The Shop’, with open arms and kind words. It was a place where heroes and warriors of the great game of hurling mix with friends and family, to share spirited stories over a glass of Jim Mac, in the company and realm of the great man. Like the man himself this unique Irish whiskey is packed with character. Jim Mac Whiskey is a tribute to all hard-working, whole-hearted individuals, a celebration of life full-on. Jim Mac whiskey is the stuff of legends.”

John O‘Brien is the nephew of Jim Mac and continues that rich family tradition today. A former two-time All-Ireland hurling medal winner with Tipperary has established Fortwilliam Spirits to bring Jim Mac Irish Whiskey to the market. He took inspiration from the ancient game of hurling and especially from the legendary character of his late Uncle, Jim McDonnell, to create this special whiskey.

It’s now available from Number 21 and Carry Out Off-Licences nationwide and online at IrishMalts.com.

Magners Farm

Magners Farm logo surrounded by green grass.

Another Golden Valley based business is Magners Farm. Located in Ballynonty village, Kylie and Billy Magner along with their four children raise ethically-produced, pasture-raised eggs. Originally from Australia, Kylie uses her expertise from growing up on a farm, along with her degree in Business in Agricultural Commerce at Sydney University to ensure that not only the freshest produce is produced, but that the business can be run on a sustainable basis also.

Some of their awards include Winner Great Taste (UK) Gold Star 2022, Silver Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards 2021 and Winner Great Taste (UK) Gold Star 2020 and their products can be found in more than 15 stockists in Tipperary and Dublin. Their active social media is packed with information about farming, gardening and nature tips, while promoting what the business is doing in Ireland and abroad.

The Lunch Bag

Large group of people in a stadium.

I first met the team from The Lunch Bag at an elephantintheroom.ie event in CHQ building in Dublin in October 2023. Not only was I impressed by their food, I was also impressed by their focus on providing healthy, environmentally friendly meals to school children throughout Ireland. Their story begins with two thoughts. How to address food waste in school and how to provide children with a variety of affordable healthy meals that they like and thus reduce food waste even more. In 2019 they trialled the idea in one school, with 85% uptake in the school. By December 2019 they had 10,000 children on board.

Today The Lunch Bag is one of Ireland’s biggest success stories in providing both hot and cold meals nationwide. They are now in over 600 schools nationwide, employing over 200 staff and providing over 35,000 school lunches a day. With the recent Government announcement of free hot meals for 900 schools by Easter, the company are set to expand to over 100,000 meals per day in the coming months, with an aim to create over 500 additional jobs.

Tipperary Food Producers

Logo for Tipperary Food Producers.

What started out at a meal between business associates in 2007, began a movement to ensure that Tipperary Food producers worked together to ensure that their produce was of the highest quality and the food producers got the fairest prices.

The 14 original producers at the meal employed 180 people locally and turned over €15 million. Once the website went live the event was covered by RTE Nationwide. Their website states “we wanted to engage in shared learning, to share our individual knowledge and resources and to share in each-others foods. The vision was always to position Tipperary as the cradle of nourishment, by virtue of its natural environment and the integrity of its food producers.”

Some of the highlights since its launch include hosting dinners in Irish embassy’s in Brussels and London, “the establishment of the Tipperary Food Tour in 2017, publication of The Tipperary Food Tour Children’s Book in 2017 and Welcoming HRH Prince Charles and HRH Duchess Camila in Cahir town in 2022.”

The network now has 37 food producers from a range of different areas of the sector and through their social media they regularly update their followers about what their members are doing and create mouth-watering images and videos about their food.

Whitefield Brewery

Group of people enjoying beers in a brewery.

In 1997 Cuilán Loughnane and his wife took over the brewing part of a local pub in Thurles called Dwans.. They immediately became an export only company as the Irish craft brew market wasn’t developed enough to make it a sustainable business.

The White Gypsy brand was created in 2010. “The next 18 months was an unbelievable success, we won dozens of awards at festivals all over the UK and the business was in full swing. The following 12 months however was an unbelievable disaster and we received the best business lessons we ever learnt.”

The following year Dawn’s was closing so they moved to Messers Maguires Pub in Dublin and commuted from Tipperary every day. The couple decided that if they wanted the business to work they needed their own brewery.

They found one in Kinsale, Co Cork and began brewing from it in 2009. It was the perfect time to open a brewery in Ireland and even the 2011 recession couldn’t break the industry as they saw a rise in micro-breweries with consumers choosing what they wanted to purchase more wisely.

It wasn’t until Covid hit in 2020 that they thought it was now time for a rebrand and changed the name of their brand to Whitefield Brewery. They specialise in award winning Classic Weissbier, Irish Red Ale and Irish Pale Ale. They have a range of more than 12 stouts, ale’s, porters and lagers available. 


Rivesci food business in Clonmel with a green shopfront and people inside enjoying food.

What was once a food truck pivoted to being an award-winning condiment company (thanks to the pandemic) and they now have a neighbourhood coffee shop at their headquarters in Irishtown, Clonmel. Rívesci are proud members of Tipperary Food Producers Network and Guaranteed Irish. They feel having strong links to their local community is essential alongside being part of the wider all island business network.

Co-founders Shannon Forrest and Declan Malone are confident in diversifying their business and are not afraid to fail as it keeps them on their toes. Alongside concentrating on their own revenue streams they also set up the Clonmel branch of NeighbourFood and have been running this in Irishtown since April 2019, to help other local food and drinks producers.

The young company has won several Great Taste Awards (UK), with the most coveted 3 Stars for their Cashew Chilli Crush. They also won gold at the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards 2023 for Smoked Chilli Oil and brought home the crystal for Best in Tipperary too. County Tipperary Chamber crowned them Best Agri Food Producer for 2023. Their condiments have received rave reviews from their customers and celebrity chefs alike such as Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody House in Co.Wexford.

2024 is set to see Rivesci grow their condiment range and stockists nationwide.

Main image at top: Photo by Paul Imanuelsen on Unsplash

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