Java Republic, the highly-opinionated, idiosyncratic and award-winning coffee roaster in Dublin, has appointed First Choice as its UK distributor.
Java Republic has now been supplying Ireland's leading restaurants, coffee houses, boutique hotels and offices with premium, artisan, hand-roasted, ethical coffees, speciality teas and real hot chocolate for seven years.
In that time it has won 69 Great Taste awards, has grown to a turnover of €7m, and will soon complete the building of what is thought to be Europe's first carbon-neutral coffee roastery. Its irreverent attitude towards the rest of the trade has been typified by some of its promotional work, not least the launch of its Other Bean chocolate range under the slogan "too much coffee gives you a fat arse", later toned down after complaints to "a big bum".
In recent years, the company has spoken of its move towards both food service and delis in the UK, and has now appointed First Choice Limited as distributor to food service.
The company's founder, David McKernan, spoke in the Irish press last week of the likely problems to come in international coffee prices.
"Coffee is the single most-traded agricultural product in the world, and the almost-doubling of green coffee prices since last year is being created by speculators and hedge-fund managers as well as record low stocks in the USA and Europe," he said.
"World coffee production of around 125 million 60-kilo sacks will barely cover demand for what has become the world's fastest growing beverage. This would have enormous consequences for consumers in Ireland as the price of an average cup of latte will go well over €3 (£2.30) and could hit €3.50 towards the end of the year."
By Ian Boughton