Driving ambition: From Building to Brewing Beer
All good business stories start with creativity
The Dingle peninsula is an inspirational place – once described by National Geographic as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’.
The backdrop of this breathtaking landscape spurred successful builder Jerry O’Sullivan to move from bricks and mortar to a craft of a different kind – brewing fresh Irish award-winning lager to create a brand new Irish brand.
Navigating the vertiginous Conor Pass before the descent down to Dingle is a feat in itself. The Dingle Brewing Company is now one of the first landmarks that visitors see when Crean’s Brewery appears in sight on arrival at ‘the edge of Europe’, the most westerly tip of Ireland – the West Kerry Gaeltacht.
The ‘Ford Business Stories’ series profiles innovative, successful Irish business leaders, delving deeper into their stories and the sources of their inspiration and hearing how they travel through life. The series also showcases the Ford Mondeo Vignale and ‘the drive for perfection’.
Kevin Dundon, celebrity chef and restaurateur and Ford ambassador travelled to Dingle to meet with Jerry O’Sullivan, hear his unique story and find out how he runs his business:
On Driving Forward
So what prompted Jerry O’Sullivan to turn his back on bricks and mortar and dive in to the world of brewing? Ten years ago, he moved to the Dingle peninsula to retire, but shortly afterwards established the Dingle Brewing Company. A serial entrepreneur, he doesn’t believe in procrastination – “tackle things, head on”.
Housed in a 19th century creamery building, the craft brewery launched and opened its tours on 20th July, 2011, the birthday of explorer Tom Crean, whom the single brew, crisp, hoppy lager is named after. The small company has quickly grown distribution around Ireland and internationally.
On Brewing Business Success
“I don’t see obstacles as obstacles – I see a way around them or if I can’t find a way around them, I just go through them”. Jerry O’Sullivan received this piece of advice from his father and passes it on to others starting out in business: “Stick to what you know and get better at it”.
On Inspiration and Creativity
“Stick to your core idea and set out goals”. It’s appropriate that Jerry’s Dingle Brewing Company makes a lager that bears the name of another great man with vision – explorer Tom Crean. From “out the road” in Annascaul, he followed his dreams on expeditions to the South Pole as an indespensible and highly respected member of both Scott’s Antarctic expedition (Discovery and Terra Nova) and of Ernest Shackelton’s (Endurance).
The great hero and pioneer Tom Crean eventually returned to Kerry to open his own pub – the South Pole Inn. Just like Tom did, Jerry returned to Dingle after his adventures in construction and taking inspiration from Crean, he sees no limits to how far he can go.
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