Two Irish North West companies traveled to Philadelphia last month to take part in a prestigious Irish American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) Craft Drinks event.
Tyrone-based Baronscourt Brewing Company and The Muff Liquor Company from Donegal showcased their produce, connected with drinks distributors and business leaders with a view to expanding their networks into the Greater Philadelphia region.
The companies traveled along with representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal Local Enterprise Office, to participate in the prestigious “In Good Spirits” event, following an invitation from the Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia.
The event was part of the strategic Ireland Northwest initiative between Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council and their partners to develop in-market support for local companies to help them build relationships to support the development of export opportunities.
The two Councils have been working closely with the IACC and Pennsylvania Dept. of Community & Economic Development to promote the North West region and are delighted that Baronscourt and Muff Liquor can avail of the unique opportunity to further develop their exports into the US market.
The two local companies were joined by Teeling Whiskey, Drioglann Local Measc Distillery, as well as distillers from Philadelphia.
The “In Good Spirits” event featured a panel discussion and question and answer session moderated by Terese Waldron, Director of Graduate Food Marketing Program at Saint Joseph’s University. Drinks experts from Pennsylvania and Irish industry took part including, Eve-Anne McCarron, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, responsible for The Food Coast Initiative); John Teeling of Teeling Whiskey; Andrew Auwerda, President & Co-Founder of Philadelphia Distilling and John Cooper, Co-Founder of Mountain Laurel Spirits (Dad’s Hat Rye).
The panel discussion was followed by a tasting session featuring Teeling Whiskey, Baronscourt Brewing Co., The Muff Liquor Company, Lough Mask Distillery, Powers Irish Whiskey, Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, and Manatawny Still Works. The participants had an opportunity to pitch their products and meet with industry experts who will assist the companies seeking market entry and develop local partnerships.
Welcoming Derry City and Strabane District Council’s participation in the event, Director of Business Stephen Gillespie said the visit is part of the Ireland Northwest’s strategic objectives, aimed at assisting local companies to internationalize their business, increase their business connections and exports.
A key element of this visit is that it aligns with the objectives set out in the recently launched Council food and drink strategy.
“This is a great opportunity for Baronscourt Brewing Co. and Muff Liquor Company to showcase their products and further develop their links with drink distributors in the US. It’s a huge privilege for us to be invited to take part in this prestigious event and to be given a platform to promote the North West region as a food and drink destination. The event will be attended by a range of influencers in the drinks sector and our participation at this showcase is testament to the ongoing relationship we have developed with Philadelphia during our trade investment visits,” he said.
Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise with the Donegal Local Enterprise Office noted how this visit supports the wider efforts which they have been focused on through the Food Coast initiative and enterprise development goals.
He said: “The Local Enterprise Office in Donegal has been leading out on The Food Coast initiative project for over eight years now and before that, we had the 315 Foods regional project covering counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan. Our ultimate objective is to grow the number and the sustainability of artisan and added –value food manufacturers in Donegal. To achieve this we have had to work with food businesses from across the sectors, from primary producers to manufacturers, food service firms to chefs and restaurants, as well as all the regional stakeholders
“Over this period we have also worked with Derry City & Strabane District Council on a European food project. This event in Philadelphia is yet another opportunity for food and drinks firms from the northwest to raise the profile and awareness of what is happing with food in the region and we look forward to further opportunities being developed for our local firms through this engagement.”
Alanna M. Barry McCloskey, Business Manager and Marketing Coordinator with the Irish American Business Chamber and Network said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Irish American Business Chamber & Network, we are thrilled to welcome a delegation of Irish craft distillers and brewers and representatives from Derry City and Strabane and Donegal County Councils. Our visiting companies will meet with various Chamber members, local business leaders, and government representatives with the goal of expanding their networks and expanding into the Greater Philadelphia region.
“We are very much looking forward to introducing our visiting companies to the Irish Chamber membership at a special event, In Good Spirits: The Rise of Craft Distilling and Brewing in Pennsylvania and Ireland. This panel discussion and tasting session will feature both Irish and Pennsylvania companies and highlight the parallel track of the craft industries in Pennsylvania and Ireland.
“Throughout the Chamber’s 20-year history, we have welcomed delegations of Irish companies and government representatives to the Philadelphia Region. We actively work to promote the Island of Ireland in the Philadelphia region and conversely, highlight Philadelphia as a destination for Irish businesses, trade and investment."
Further trade missions are scheduled to take place to both Boston and Philadelphia in November when both Councils will be supporting a range of local companies to assess their readiness to export and gear up to target and explore new business opportunities in export markets.
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