Meet the 'Baileys farmers' who produce 1.2m litres of milk each year for this iconic drink

Joe Hayden. Picture: The Orchard Centre
Joe Hayden. Picture: The Orchard Centre
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Wicklow dairy farming team Joe and Michael Hayden are fourth-generation dairy farming brothers who have been supplying Baileys through Glanbia for the last 30 years.

Since 2001, the farm, which is tucked in the Wicklow Mountains near the village of Tinahely, has welcomed over 10,000 visitors worldwide each year, teaching them about the grass-fed cows who are at the heart of the cream liqueur's story.

"We have 175 cows, which myself and Michael call the Baileys ladies," says Joe.

"We produce 1.2m litres of milk each year, most of which goes to Baileys. It's such a joy being able to tell visitors from all over the world about how our sustainable system is used to make the Baileys cream.

"We tell them how Baileys is made of 50pc cream from Irish cows and blended with Irish whiskey, and do tastings."

Winter milk

The Haydens have a winter milk contract for Glanbia, calving 40pc of their herd in autumn to ensure quantity and quality of supply for Baileys throughout the beverage's popular winter season.

Joe says that he loves hearing stories from visitors who tell them that they drink Baileys every Christmas or that they always buy it for their mother-in-laws for Thanksgiving.

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While the drink is synonymous with Christmas, Joe says that you can drink it all year round. "In the summer we make Baileys frappés using a normal domestic blender.

"I'm biased - I drink it all year round - but of course it is drunk a lot at Christmas by the fire or before or after the Christmas dinner."

Indo Farming

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