Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Coca-Cola boss Isdell brews up new venture in Dublin

By John Mulligan

Co Down businessman Neville Isdell is putting some fizz into Dublin's CHQ building with plans for a microbrewery at the landmark. The former Coca-Cola boss launched the Epic Ireland emigration museum - a celebration of the achievements of Irish people abroad - at the CHQ last year.

Now the company behind the building, CHQ Dublin, has secured permission from Dublin City Council for the microbrewery in the warehouse, which dates back to the early 19th century.

Mr Isdell bought the property in 2013 for €10 million (£8.5 million).

The latest plans for CHQ, which is in the International Financial Services Centre, include an internal revamp that will see a new mezzanine level added, as well as the microbrewery, which will allow for the on-site production and sale of craft beers.

Urban Brewing, a company owned by Carlow-based freight agent Victor Treacy and Dublin-based Jim O'Hara, has been secured as a tenant and will operate the microbrewery.

It will also open a bar/restaurant at the site.

Both Mr O'Hara and Mr Treacy are also involved in the Carlow Craft Brewery.

CHQ told Dublin City Council that the introduction of Urban Brewing to the venue will "provide another high-quality use at the CHQ building, with clear linkages to the visitor/tourism use of Epic Ireland".

The CHQ was redeveloped at a cost of €45m (£38m) by the now defunct Dublin Docklands Development Authority. It opened in 2007.

But it failed to live up to expectations, dogged by low footfall and a lack of retail tenants.

Mr Isdell has revitalised the building, which was once used to store wine and tobacco offloaded at the quayside.

He has spent €12m (£10m) developing the Epic Ireland venture. He also introduced Dogpatch Labs, a working space for tech start-ups. And new retailers have opened at CHQ.

Mr Isdell, who stepped down as Coca-Cola chief executive in 2008, previously stated that he hoped the Epic attraction would lure about 400,000 visitors a year.

CHQ also noted that it intends to shortly launch a food market at the premises.

He left Downpatrick aged just 10 when the family moved to Africa. In his final years as chief executive of the Atlanta-based giant, Mr Isdell earned a reported $27m (£21.7m).

Before taking the top job at Coke's headquarters in Atlanta in the US in 2004, Mr Isdell sold and bottled Coke everywhere from Zambia and Australia, to Russia during the collapse of communism.

Belfast Telegraph