General Industry

Hospitality Ireland Presents Round Up Of NI Drinks And Food News

By Dave Simpson
Hospitality Ireland Presents Round Up Of NI Drinks And Food News

Hospitality Ireland presents a round-up of Northern Ireland food and drinks news.

Belfast Distillery Company Expands Global Distribution Footprint

Belfast Distillery Company has expanded its global distribution footprint.

A statement published on said, "Belfast Distillery Company will be ending this trading year on a high as it continues to build its global distribution footprint for one of Ireland's oldest whisky brands across Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia.

"Having secured partnerships with multiple international distributors since its revival in 2020, Germany is the latest market to embrace McConnell's 5 Year Old Blend, the brand’s signature expression. The German distribution deal with Waldemar Behn GmbH was signed off following a successful trip to the German market and McConnell's attending the Bar Convent Berlin trade show earlier this year. The resulting partnership means the premium spirit is now available to whisky lovers all over Germany.

"John Kelly, Chief Executive Officer at Belfast Distillery Company, said that the success of 2021 was achieved in the face of difficult circumstances, particularly in the alcohol sector with Trade Shows and Events being cancelled throughout the year. He said, 'McConnell's brand was Born in Belfast in 1776 and we have been working hard to re-establish McConnell’s in our home market, whilst developing our distribution network internationally. As it says on the label, we are proud to be following in the footsteps of James and John McConnell and we are excited to see McConnell's Irish Whisky travel from Belfast to Boston, and beyond. We are delighted to secure a distribution agreement with Waldemar Behn, one of Germany’s oldest and most well recognised family-owned companies in the alcohol sector.'


"Rudiger Behn, Owner and Managing Director of Waldemar Behn GmbH, commented, 'We have been watching the Irish Whiskey category grow both in Germany and globally and have been keen to find the right partner in this space. McConnell's Irish Whisky is exactly what we have been looking for - great liquid and packaging which we know will be a success with German consumers. This could be seen by the reaction received at Bar Convent Berlin and we are pleased to welcome McConnell’s into the Waldemar Behn portfolio.'

"John continued, 'The durability of the McConnell's brand is testament to the high quality spirit and remarkable packaging that we have to offer our distributor partners and consumers. As one of Ireland's longest established brands, it doesn't come as a huge surprise that our whisky is taking its place amongst the Irish whiskey category's most renowned spirits. We are delighted with the recognition for our product and the reward now coming to the hard working, talented team at Belfast Distillery Company. McConnell's is undergoing a revival, bringing this Belfast brand to a growing and diverse international whisky market; we are very proud to see it on the global stage at a time when competition is intense in the category.'

"As well Germany, other new markets added to the global sales map for McConnell's in the second half of 2021 include Poland, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, China plus Ontario and Alberta in Canada.

"For more information on McConnell's Irish Whisky contact [email protected]".

Gourmet Grazing NI Announces Plans To Create Five New Jobs

As reported by The Irish News, catering company Gourmet Grazing NI, which responded to last year's COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown by switching to a home delivery business, has announced plans to create five new jobs after bumper growth.


Gourmet Grazing NI was reportedly forced to cease operations in March of 2020 after just 12 months in business.

But a new "Grazing Box" range reportedly proved to be a hit with the corporate world in the new working from home era, leading to an eight-fold growth for the start-up business.

The company is reportedly now looking to recruit five new staff in 2022.

Bank of Ireland, Power NI, PwC, Next, A&L Goodbody, Channel 4 and KPMG were reportedly among the start-up's customers.

Founder Emma Shuter has reportedly now introduced the firm's first postal boxes, with the aim of delivering fresh, seasonal grazing produce across the north.


Recalling how the March of 2020 lockdown had impacted her events catering business, she reportedly said, "When the restrictions were implemented we were unable to operate and overnight all our orders were cancelled.

"I had to adapt very quickly and created a Grazing Box filled to the brim with cheese, charcuterie, antipasti, home-made caramelised walnuts, other nuts, artisan crackers, fresh berries, dried fruit and homemade chutneys.

"The first night that I added the new box to our social channels, we received 120 orders, so I knew I was on to something and from there the demand continued to grow."

Now looking ahead to an expansion of the home delivery business with postal boxes, she reportedly added, "We're very thankful for our continued growth and have strong plans in place to support this including the creation of five new jobs in 2022 and an expansion of our online deli and product offering."

Six Counties Craft Beer Founder Hoping For Australia's Top 100 Craft Beers Listing

As reported by The Belfast Telegraph, the Co. Down expat behind a limited edition lager to celebrate the centenary of Northern Ireland is hoping to see it voted as one of Australia’s top 100 craft beers for 2021.


Bangor man Andrew Power reportedly launched Six Counties Craft Beer in June.

The response was reportedly overwhelming and reportedly saw the first batch sell out in less than two weeks after its initial release.

Power, who reportedly moved to Australia in 2005 and lives in Brisbane, reportedly owns Ulster Distributions, which distributes beer, wines and other products to bottle shops and bars across south east Queensland.

After Power reportedly spoke to the brewers at Helios about creating the limited edition beer, work reportedly quickly progressed to bring together the 4.5% strength lager, which has reportedly been described as hoppy with lemon and citrus notes.

Six Counties Craft Beer has reportedly now been entered into the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) Hottest 100 Craft Beer people's choice poll.

Since the poll began in 2008, lager lovers in Australia are reportedly asked to select, in order of preference, their five favourite craft beers of the year.

Almost 40,000 people reportedly cast their votes last year as Canberra's Bentspoke Brewing Co's Crankshaft IPA was reportedly crowned the GABS Hottest 100 winner.

Power reportedly said it would be a magnificent achievement to see Six Counties finish in the top 100 as it will go up against thousands of other beers.

"Six Counties is in there which is fantastic, so we're asking everyone who has enjoyed it to give us a wee vote," he reportedly told The Belfast Telegraph. "Obviously a lot of the expat community are right behind it as well.

"We've had posts from the Our Wee Country fanzine and a lot of other posts online on social media, so people have been really positive about it and enjoyed the beer.

"I must say, it's not just Northern Irish people, a lot of Aussies have enjoyed the beer as well, so hopefully it will come out as one of the favourites."

Power reportedly said both he and micro-brewer Helios have been "punching well above our weight" with Six Counties as the beer has been sold all over Australia and shipped overseas.

"Helios is only a small micro-brewery, so we're not expecting to be in the top five but just to get into that top 100 would be amazing because it’s a national voting poll," he reportedly added. "Having said that, we have sent our beers right across Australia to Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin as well, so our beers have been to every corner of Australia.

"You just never know. People like the concept and obviously the centenary is a very unique celebration and we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

"If anyone back home wants to give us a wee vote, we would love it."

As for 2022, Power reportedly hopes to continue on from the success of Six Counties, in partnership with Helios.

"We want to do something special to follow up on the centenary beer - a Six Counties follow up for 2022," he reportedly said. "We've got a couple of ideas which we'll certainly bring to fruition early next year."

You can vote for Six Counties Craft Beer via

The GABS Hottest 100 poll reportedly closes on Friday, January 14, and the winner will be reportedly announced on Saturday, January 22.

Mount Charles Wins Hospitality Contract For Three National Museums NI Sites

As also reported by The Belfast Telegraph, Belfast-based catering firm Mount Charles has won the hospitality contract for three National Museums NI sites.

The company's Craft Event Co arm will reportedly now deliver catering services to the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk Museum, and the Ulster Transport Museum.

The three-year deal was reportedly granted after a competitive tender process.

The new partnership will reportedly see Craft Event Co redress the offering at each site including Ulster Museum's Wynne & Pym restaurant, the Ballycultra Tearooms at Ulster Folk Museum, and the Cultra Manor.

Brona Moffett, head of experience and enterprise at National Museums NI, reportedly said, "The creativity and expertise of the Craft Event Co team will also allow us to transform weddings and corporate events in our stunning spaces."

Gavin Annon, marketing director at Mount Charles, reportedly said that Craft Event Co was "the perfect fit for National Museums NI".

"It has built a strong reputation thanks to its commitment to customer service and hygiene standards, quality in food and creativity for bespoke wedding and events.

"It is a privilege to work with these unique National Museums NI destinations and we look forward to adding to the experience."

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.