Kelly's Traditional Cider Cider, The Drink Of The Celts

Kelly's Irish Cider

Article in Irish Voice 2004

Kelly's Cider Success Story

Kelly's Cider was started by two Irishmen in 1997, Brendan Daly from Dublin and John Cronin from Listowel, Co. Kerry. They saw the growing interest in cider in the U.S. and set out to make a cider to sell there.

At the time, Daly was working for a large drinks company in Tipperary doing quality control and product development work. They had the idea and were brave enough to give it a go. "At that time, we were competing with Woodpecker cider on draft. Magners was not in the country then," he said.

"I was making cider in Ireland in the 1990's when we came up with the idea of Kelly"s Cider for the American market. I developed the recipe in Tipperary. It's a crisp, dry cider with more flavor. Unlike other ciders it has no added colors, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors," he added.

The cider market in the U.S. in 2003 was about six million cases and growing steadily. Kelly's Cider is made with cider apple juice from Ireland, England, and Europe and shipped to the U.S. in bulk where it is bottled in a new state of the art bottling facility in Florida. This saves on the transport costs of shipping glass bottles across the Atlantic.

"We started in 1997 in New York on a wing and a prayer. Our idea was good and the Irish bar owners and staff were great," says Daly. "We made some mistakes but we kept going. In the beginning we didn't have enough investment behind us to compete in the tough New York drink market. We took some hard hits and were knocked down a few times but you cannot stay down on the floor. The important thing is to learn from those hits."

Kelly's Irish Cider

In 2002, the North American Brewers Association awarded Kelly's Cider a gold medal in a nationwide competition. This gave us a great boost; we knew we had a great quality product." In 2003, Kelly's won its second gold medal from the association. "This was an amazing achievement for us and encouraged us to work even harder," Daly said. The back-to-back medals attracted serious investment in the company, and this has given Kelly's Cider a new lease on life."

"The drinks market is dominated by giant multinational companies but there is aniche for a great product like Kelly's Cider," feels Daly. "America really is the land of opportunity if you are prepared to take risks, work hard and most importantly, never give up. I have no doubt that Arthur Guinness struggled for the first few years back in 1759 in a dirty back ally in Dublin city but he kept going," he adds. "We are competing against giant drinks companies run by wealthy executives who are paid millions each year. These people have little in common with the ordinary Irish immigrants in New York."

Kelly's Cider is back on the market here and it is here for the long haul, Daly maintains. "Our day will come," he adds.

IRISH VOICE, Wed., Feb. 18, 2004-Tues., Feb. 24, 2004

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