Finnebrogue Artisan set to open fourth factory

Finnebrogue Artisan set to open fourth factory

18 November 2020

LOCAL politicians have this week praised the continued success of Downpatrick firm Finnebrogue Artisan which is set to open its fourth factory in the town before the end of the year.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath and Rowallane councillor Billy Walker have praised the leadership of the local firm’s founder and chairman, Denis Lynn, highlighting the continued success of a company which is one of the district’s leading employers.

The politicians say as the local community continues to face numerous health and economic challenges posed by coronavirus, it is important for everyone to remember to celebrate good news “whenever and wherever it appears”.

The say Finnebrogue Artisan is playing a vital role in the area, providing valuable employment opportunities, making massive investments that are stimulating economic growth in the town and surrounding villages, while also stepping up to help those in the community who are finding these times particularly tough.

Last week, Mr Lynn was recognised by The Grocer magazine as the UK food industry’s entrepreneur of the year, paying tribute to the key role he played in transforming Finnebrogue from a small Northern Irish business with revenues of just £3 million ten years ago into a major player.

Judges referred to the nitrite-free bacon revolution Mr Lynn kick-started and his new ambitious plans in the plant-based food arena.

“We are impressed at how an established meat business has adapted to current trends for vegan alternatives and gone one step further than its plant-based rivals,” they continued.

“It looks like Mr Lynn won’t stop at simply saving our bacon. Now, he has moved on to bigger ambitions, saving the world with food that is good for the consumer and good for the planet too.”

The entrepreneur of the year award is for a leader in food who has recognised an opportunity or met an unsatisfied demand and shown the necessary commitment, leadership and self-belief either to create a new and successful business or to radically improve or turn around the performance of an existing one.

In leading Finnebrogue, Mr Lynn has overseen the firm’s extraordinary growth over the past decade, with plans to open his fourth factory in five years by the end of next month. The new £25m production site at the Down Business Park will specialise in next generation plant-based food. 

In 2018, Mr Lynn was named the UK’s most innovative director of the year by the Institute of Directors and having grown the local business’s turnover to £150m producing premium sausages, bacon, ham, venison, and wagyu beef burgers, Finnebrogue is currently one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers with almost 900 staff.

In their joint statement, Mr McGrath and Cllr Walker described the Finnebrogue Artisan success story as “wonderful” and said it was one every member of the community should applaud. 

“As local politicians from different parties, we are united in our congratulations for Denis and thank him for everything that he and his fantastic team are doing for our area,” said the statement.

“Under Denis’s leadership, the rate of expansion and development at Finnebrogue Artisan has been incomparable to anything we’ve seen in Northern Ireland. He is now employing 860 people, compared to just 40 ten years ago.”

The politicians said Finnebrogue’s new next-generation plant-based food factory will open next month creating 300 new jobs with the company founder and chairman clear that these will be opportunities for local people.

“Beyond putting Downpatrick on the map for its world-beating food innovation, Finnebrogue is also playing a valuable role in helping deprived families during these unprecedented times,” said the politicians.

Their statement adds: “We commend Denis and his team for their fantastic, innovative and considerable work which benefits us all.

“Finnebrogue is not just the leading employer in our district, it is one of the leading employers in County Down and is a success story we can all be proud of. We hope our entire community will be willing Denis and the Finnebrogue family on as they pursue evermore success.”