First Ireland Spirits Company has been sold to European drinks group Quintessential Brands for an undisclosed sum.

First Ireland Spirits is the country's biggest independent producer of Irish cream liqueurs and Irish country creams and its brands include O'Mara's Irish Country Cream, Feeny's Irish Cream Liqueur and the Dubliner Irish Whiskey Liqueur. 

Its private label clients include SuperValu, Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Asda, Walmart and Woolworths in Australia. The company's 35 markets include Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Nigeria, Germany and the US.

Based in Abbeyleix in Co Laois, the company was set up in 1983 and employs about 50 people. The company said the deal with Quintessential will safeguard all of the jobs at the firm.

The Quintessential Brands group includes G&J Distillers and Essential Drinks. Its brands include Greenall's Original Gin, Bloom Gin, Berkeley Square London Dry Gin and Toussaint Coffee Rum liqueur.  

Owen Brady, one of the founders of First Ireland Spirits, said that it was an appropriate point in time for First Ireland Spirits to become part of a larger spirits group. 

"As part of Quintessential Brands, First Ireland Spirits will now have the opportunity to grow sales in the international Irish cream markets as well as expand into other Irish spirits categories," he said.
"The acquisition of First Ireland Spirits offers us an unrivalled foothold in the global market for Irish cream liqueurs and is part of our corporate strategy to become a leading European independent player in the global spirits industry," commented Quintessential Brands' co-founder and director Warren Scott.

He said the company has "ambitious plans" to expand its operations here.