Q&A with Mary O Sullivan, owner of Beara Bitters

Name: Mary O Sullivan

Occupation & Company: Owner, Beara Bitters

Tell me about your current role?

My current role is to drive growth into the company. We offer 200ml bottles that are sized for the bar and restaurant trade, 50ml bottles that were designed for the Off-licence trade (with home cocktail enthuiasts) and a 30ml bottle that we make available for gifting sets. We have developed sets of cocktail and food menu’s to help interested clients make seasonal and aromatic cocktails and food. 

How did you first get into the drinks industry?

I worked for years on different plant and marine projects. Most recently having spent 6 years with Teagasc (the agricultural research arm of the Irish Government) on projects breeding new cultivars of perennial ryegrass and clover. Before that I worked on shorter terms projects monitoring phytoplankton, brown crab and lobster. 

I got into the drinks industry as I saw how there are so many different distilleries and breweries opening up and decided that a company that helps and supports them in selling their products would be welcome.

What is your favourite part about working in the industry?

My favourite part of working in the industry is how friendly and open it is, if I have a question I know that I can pick up the phone and get either an answer or a point in the right direction from most people.

We’re meeting up for a wee drink after work – what are you having?

A Gunner Cocktail, I like mine to be made with a split serve of ginger ale, ginger beer, a squeeze of lime and some aromatic bitters floated on top. I am a sleepy person and normally am shattered after work! The sugar helps keep me on my feet.

You can only have one drink for the rest of your life, what’s in your glass

A grenache. I love this style of wine and find it suits me well with most meals in Ireland!

It’s Saturday night, what restaurant are you going to?

Neighbourhood in Naas, it’s beautiful and everything there is very carefully selected.

Is there a bucket list drink you want to try, or a dream drinks destination you’d love to visit?

I would like to visit Singapore as it’s the cocktail capital of the world, they stand at the crossroads of traditional and modern and pull on their mixed heritage to tie together flavours from around the world.

The most memorable experience of your career?

Winning a Gold medal for our Orange Bitters with the Berlin Spirits Competition the same week we won a Silver medal with the International Wine and Spirits Competition

One thing you’d like to see more of in the drinks industry?

I would like to see more people thinking outside the box when it comes to spirits creation, too many larger companies are content to stick with the easy traditional route. However take that with a pinch of salt, as it leaves plenty of scope for people like me and other startups to experiment and iterate interesting drinks.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in the industry?

Talk to everyone, some advice will be good, some bad, but hearing another person’s opinion is seldom bad. It gives you both a good view of the field, but how people regard their profession and the industry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s