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For stout-hearted meat lovers... the Fermanagh Guinness burger


Maurice Kettyle

Maurice Kettyle

Maurice Kettyle

A farmer's son from Co Fermanagh whose beef has graced the plate of the Queen has launched a high-end burger laced with Guinness flavours - although it's alcohol-free.

Maurice Kettyle (46) - who grew up on his family's 500-acre beef farm three miles outside Lisnaskea - is the man behind Kettyle Irish Foods, a craft butchery brand he started in 2003.

It sells hand-selected cuts of dry-aged meat directly to retailers - including M&S - and to more than 700 restaurants across Ireland, the UK and Europe, 28 of which are Michelin-starred.

The business's unique selling point was its dry-ageing facility at its Lisnaskea factory. The only purpose-built facility in Europe, it boosts the flavour of the meat and tenderises it.

Kettyle Irish Foods also added a salt-and-moss ageing "cave", or chamber, that uses bricks made from salt from the Irish Sea, seaweed and carrageen moss to dry-age the beef.

Mr Kettyle said: "People didn't really understand dry-ageing in 2004 and it seemed quite a niche. But that year I joined up with star chefs coming on the scene, like Paul Rankin and Michael Deane in Belfast, Ross Lewis in Chapter One in Dublin, and began supplying them and restaurants like The Lanesborough in London and Guilbaud's in Dublin.

"As chefs moved through, the word started to get around and the trend started to evolve."

By 2011, the company had supplied ribs of beef for the state dinner held in honour of the Queen's visit to Ireland.

In April, the firm linked up with Diageo to launch the Guinness burger, which has been rolled out across Ireland and parts of Europe. It's also for sale at the Guinness Storehouse, which, with 1.7m visitors last year, is the Republic's biggest paid-for tourist attraction.

Kettyle - mindful that a hard Brexit may pose a challenge for his border company - said: "Brexit wasn't an impetus for the venture - it was in progress long before the referendum.

"But the Guinness brand is a hell of a lot bigger than us, so the Guinness burger is a benefit with Brexit coming."

Mr Kettyle said the burger is among a variety of products that will likely be combined with Guinness over the next two to three years.

"Hopefully that will strengthen our case on the global market," he said.

Belfast Telegraph