Patrick Bewley, a former managing director of the Bewley’s coffee and tea company who died aged 77 after a long illness, was Ireland’s foremost coffee specialist.
A great grandson of the company’s founder, Joshua Bewley, he was involved in the business for 53 years and was the last member of the Bewley family to be involved in the company.
Ethically-driven in all aspects of his life, he pioneered Fairtrade certified coffee in Ireland in 1996, continuing the company tradition of sustainable and responsible practices.
He also introduced freshly-ground coffee to the hospitality sector by making espresso machines available to hotels, restaurants, bars and caterers in return for an exclusive supply agreement- a practice subsequently adopted by other coffee roasters.
Bewley’s was founded in 1840 with Patrick’s grandfather Ernest expanding the business from Sycamore Alley to South Great George’s Street in Dublin, selling tea and sugar across the counter.
It started selling coffee wholesale out of its Westmoreland Street branch, but its primary focus remained the cafés. Patrick Bewley’s father Joe raised Jersey cows, which produced the milk and cream for the cafés.
Patrick Bewley was born in 1944 in Knocksedan House, a farm in Swords, north Dublin. He was later enrolled in a Quaker school in Waterford and initially chose accountancy as his career, joining Stokes Bros & Pim.
In 1965 he joined Bewley’s, working behind the counter making coffee for six months, later moving to front of house, serving beans and ground coffee to the public. He became the manager of the Westmoreland Street café before serving as managing director of the company from 1977-2003.
He supported many charities including Bewley’s Coffee Mornings for the Irish Cancer Society and was chairman of the Mendicity Institute.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Dagg, and sons Craig and Simon.