A look back at 2018, our most successful year to date, with a marked increase in membership and engagement with Irish pubs and hospitality outlets around the world, as well as our recent rebrand and four successful events held in Auckland, London, Galway and Virginia.
Auckland, New Zealand (Jan 2018)
The beginnning of the new year saw an historic gathering of owners and managers of Irish pubs in New Zealand, in Auckland on Monday 15th January, where a new chapter of the Irish Pubs Global Federation was formed.
Delegates of Irish pubs from all over New Zealand attended the event, which saw Reg Henessey, of Hennessy’s Irish Bar Rotorua, elected as the founding Chairman of the Irish Pubs Global New Zealand Chapter, and Brian Collins, of Pog Mahone’s in Queenstown, elected as President. The event was endorsed by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, and organised by Rob Eliott of Lemongrass Productions.
“For us to get together in New Zealand was long overdue, there is a lot we can do together for our mutual benefit,” Reg Hennessy said on accepting his new position on behalf of his establishment, which he says is the “Most earthquake proof Irish Pub in the world” following a massive $1.5m rebuilding programme.
The Auckland gathering included updates on the growth of the casual dining sector, issues with social media and how to best handle various platforms, together with practical discussions on potential activities for the New Zealand Chapter. The newly formed chapter are working towards hosting an island-wide “Irish Pub Day” for 2019.
London, England (July 2018)
Next stop for the Irish Hospitality Global team was London where we joined some of the biggest exhibitors in the spirits industry at Imbibe Live (at London’s Olympia) and hosted a networking event for Irish Pub operators in the UK at the famous Waxy O’Connor’s on Rupert St.
Irish Pub operators from London, Manchester and Glasgow heard from special guests such as His Excellency Mr Adrian O’Neill Irish Ambassador to UK, Mr Elgin Loane (proprietor & publisher of The Irish Post) and Lord Iveagh (8th direct descendent of Arthur Guinness).
Galway, Ireland (Oct 2018)
Galway saw an influx of Irish Pub operators from all over the world in October for the 8thannual Irish Pubs Global Gathering event. This year’s theme was “Famous for Food” and attendees were given the opportunity to visit some of the West of Ireland’s best food and drink suppliers, with a view to establishing more quality Irish produce on Irish pub menus worldwide.
The three-day programme opened to oversees attendees on Sunday 7th October with an exclusive first tasting of the brand new Fercullen Irish whiskey range from the newly opened Powerscourt Distillery in Co Wicklow, followed by an exclusive tasting menu at The Twelve Hotel in Barna, paired with Porterhouse beer.
Other highlights on the packed agenda included an Irish whiskey panel discussion led by Willam Lavelle of the Irish Whiskey Association and featuring Elliot Hughes (Dingle Whiskey), Noel Sweeney (Powerscourt Distillery) and Gearoid Cahill (Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery). Delegates were also treated to exclusive tastings from the Pearse Lyons Distillery, Drumshambo Gunpowder Gin and Tullamore Dew; a pub tour of Connemara; a walking food tour of Galway city and finally a cruise aboard the Corrib Princess.
The annual Irish Pubs Global Awards took place on the 9thOctober at the Galmont Hotel, attended by over 400 international and domestic pub owners and staff. 50 awards were presented to the very best operators in the business and 26 different countries were represented on the evening. There were wins for Irish pubs in all corners of the globe, from Washington to Wellington, Beijing to Brisbane. Overall winner on the night was Tír na nóg, Madison Square Garden, which was awarded the Global Irish Pub of the Year. Closer to home, pubs in Dublin, Galway, Meath, and Limerick also picked up gongs for being top of their game, with Toners Pub on Baggott Street in Dublin being crowned the Irish Pub of the Year.
Concluding the Awards ceremony, Enda O’Coineen President & Founder of Irish Pubs Global Federation unveiled a new brand for the federation – Irish Hospitality Global. The new brand was developed with an emphasis on the importance of the Welcome and the authentic customer Experience that guests receive when they walk through the doors of an Irish Pub.
Alexandria VA, USA (Nov 2018)
The picturesque colonial town of Alexandria, Virginia, was the setting for an historical first meeting and workshop for Irish Pub Operators from across North America.The theme and concept of the workshop was developed by Donal Ballance of Ballance Hospitality, supported by Irish Hospitality Global and endorsed by a number of Irish State Agencies including Tourism Ireland, Bord Bia and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Thirty of the very best operators from across the United States and Canada met to discuss the current state of the Irish Pub industry in North America, how operators might work more closely together and how operators could strengthen their ties to Ireland and an authentic Irish experience.
The delegates unanimously agreed to put further work into the identified solutions and to meet again in the first half of 2019 to review progress. The evening saw the group visit the residence of the Irish Ambassador to the United Sates and a reception hosted by Ambassador Dan Mulhall.
Looking forward to 2019
Irish Hospitality Global remain on track to build on the success of the past year, with plans already underway for more regional events and a brand new programme for the annual Global Gathering in Ireland.
The organisation is also working with industry stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, to find new ways to tackle the worldwide decline of the Irish pub. Commenting on the crisis facing Irish pubs, Colm O’Reilly, CEO of Irish Hospitality Global, said “The Irish pub industry around the world is facing severe challenges in an ever competitive world. The number of Irish Pubs closing their doors worldwide is significantly higher than the number of new Irish pubs opening each year. The entire industry needs to come together and develop a framework to help ensure the Irish pub will remain relevant in the future”.
On behalf of all at Irish Hospitality Global, we wish to thank all our members, sponsors and partners for their support this year.
Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!