Bewleys of Ireland buys top UK coffee roaster

Bolling Coffee of Yorkshire, creator of the high-profile Grumpy Mule brand, has been acquired by Bewley’s, the giant coffee business of Dublin.

“We have had a lot of interest,” Bolling’s managing director Ian Balmforth told Coffee House. “We accepted Bewley’s because they are honest, seriously good coffee people with integrity, and are absolutely right for the future of Bolling.”

Both companies have a high reputation in the direct-sourcing of coffee, which in its correct form is the extremely deep and thorough system of sourcing which involves a true ‘relationship’ between roaster and farmer.

“Bewley’s think we work in the correct way for the UK market,” said Ian Balmforth. “Their direct sourcing is an example of best-practice in the industry, and at the Allegra conference last week I said from the stage that I was bloody well fed up with some of the nonsense that some brands talk about ‘direct sourcing’… and I got a round of applause for it!

“We have talked for a long time about ‘beyond Fairtrade’ and ‘beyond Rainforest’, and the way Bewley’s works and the way we work joins up a lot of very good dots in good direct-sourcing practice. We all see sustainable, traceable, ethical sourcing as the future of the industry.”

Bollings will come under the direct control of Brendan McDonnell of Bewley’s as managing director; Ian Balmforth will adopt a commercial director role, allowing him to undertake more commitments outside the company.

“This is my baby, and I’m not going anywhere,” he told us firmly. “I’m just not working seventy hours a week any more!”

This story was first exclusively reported by Boughton’s Coffee House.


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