O’Connell Whiskey Merchants business from Kilmacthomas is the winner of the Waterford Enterprise Award for 2022, Local Enterprise Office Waterford has announced.
Marking the end of a busy and productive Local Enterprise Week in Waterford, O’Connell Whiskey Merchants took the top prize and will now represent Local Enterprise Office Waterford at the 22nd National Enterprise Awards at the Mansion House in Dublin on June 2nd.
Daithí O’Connell says deep down he is an adventurer, and this is just the next step in his entrepreneurial adventure, “We bring small batch whiskey to market in the premium plus whiskey sector by sourcing and maturing premium whiskies. We are an independent bottler and bonder of spirits, especially Irish whiskey. Our warehouse and bottling line are in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford, next to the Waterford Greenway in an 1830s-era famine workhouse and 1970s Flahavan’s grain store house.”
The ceremony was a fitting end to the week in Waterford and included dignitaries such as the Mayor of Waterford city and county, Cllr Joe Kelly, who presented the award at the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday March 11th, “Waterford is extremely proud to be represented nationally by Daithí O’Connell in June. Through its investment and continuous innovation O’Connell Whiskey Merchants has firmly established itself as a market leader and is a great example of how entrepreneurs can turn good ideas into great products.”
O’Connell Whiskey Merchants will now be competing against 30 other finalists from every local authority area for a share of the €35,000 winner’s prize fund as national judging gets underway in May. Categories this year include ‘Best Export Business,’ ‘Best Start-Up’ and ‘Innovation,’ in addition to eight regional awards. There are also two new National Enterprise Awards this year with a “One to Watch” award and a “Sustainability / Green” award.
Speaking during Local Enterprise Week Richard Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford said: “I’d like to thank all the companies that joined us online this week and to our team here in Local Enterprise Office Waterford for rolling out such an impressive programme of events. I’d also like to give a special word of thanks to all the contributors, speakers and facilitators who shared their experiences, challenges and insights at every event.”
The Waterford Enterprise Awards took place as part of a very successful Local Enterprise Week programme of events. There were over 220 physical and virtual events taking place across the country and 26 in Waterford alone, run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices from March 7th to 11th.
Local Enterprise Week is organised every year by the Local Enterprise Offices and supported by Enterprise Ireland, local authorities and the Government of Ireland.
Photos by Noel Browne