Black Donkey Brewing took home the Roscommon County Enterprise Award for 2018 on Monday afternoon at the Abbey Hotel. The company, which was founded in 2014 in Ballinlough, claimed the trophy as well as €3,500 in prize-money. There was also a special award for Employment and Growth Potential for Scott Hunter’s NCLS Crane & Lifting Services company, which is based in Scramogue.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr. Orla Leyden said the event was designed to “recognise and reward the commitment, dedication and contribution of the micro business sector to the economy of Co. Roscommon”.
She added that 2018 marked a significant milestone for the National Enterprise Awards, which will be held at the Mansion House, Dublin on May 24th.
“This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the National Enterprise Awards. Winners from all years are being invited, including Roscommon’s 2001 national winner, Midland Precision Tool and Die Ltd.”.
Roscommon County Council Director of Services, Martin Lydon, thanked each of the eight finalists: Black Donkey Brewing, Bio-Friendly, Crackncampers, Class Grass, NB Studio, NCLS Crane & Lifting Services, Seams Sew Simple and Westboat Boatbuilders and wished them well in each of their respective businesses. He added that they could be assured of the Local Enterprise Office’s continued assistance.
Richard Siberry, who along with his wife Michaela, runs Black Donkey Brewing Ltd. was understandably thrilled with the county award.
“It’s fantastic, there were very strong competitors there and we came in not really expecting anything. We almost didn’t come at all because of the storm over the weekend. We had a lot of shipments that were delayed and I said that if the truck hadn’t arrived by ten o’clock I’d have to stay and load it and miss the event. Thankfully it showed up early and we could make it!”
The Ballinlough beer company has gone from strength to strength since Richard and Michaela started brewing in 2014, and 2018 promises to be another busy year.
Richard now hopes that the implementation of legislation to allow the sale of alcohol on the premises will open up further revenue and employment opportunites in Ballinlough.
“We’re still waiting to see what the Dáil comes up with in terms of what we colloquially call the ‘Tap Room Bill’ (Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016). It will pass in one shape or form and if we can use it we’d certainly like to strike while the iron is hot because a nice little tourist business in Ballinlough would be great for the community. It would also give us the opportunity to create another job or two, even on a part-time basis”.
Richard paid tribute to his colleagues and retail partners before expressing his gratitiude for the support of the Local Enterprise Office.
“It’s been invaluable. LEO got us off the ground with a primary grant back in 2014 and they have been very supportive of our attendance and trade shows and festivals over the last four years. Obviously this award today is fantastic support and recognition that we must be doing something right. The door is always open and we have a great relationship with all the staff over at LEO”.
Meanwhile, NCLS Crane & Lifting Services picked up €1,500 after winning the special award for Employment and Growth Potential. Scott Hunter established the Scramogue company back in 2015 and said the support from the Local Enterprise Office has been invaluable.
“It’s brilliant (to win) and I’d definitely recommend anyone in business to get involved because LEO will help you with your business plans, ideas and help you to grow your business. This isn’t the end either, it (the support) will continue on after this”.
Black Donkey Brewing will now go forward to the National Enterprise Awards which take place in the Mansion House on May 24th with regional judging to take place within the next few weeks at the Hodson Bay Hotel.