Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryan Bean. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Kinnitty Castle Spirits, and our sister company, Kinnitty Castle Hotel in Ireland, both sprung from Four Green Fields Pub. Four Green Fields has been a staple of the Tampa social and cultural scene for nearly 40 years.
Over pints, a few shots of Irish Whiskey, and traditional Irish music, founders Bryan Bean and Colin Breen decided to pursue the purchase of the historic Kinnitty Castle Hotel. The hotel was operating as a 4-star hotel, and was in a “foreclosure auction”. Bryan and Colin took ownership of the castle hotel in Aug of 2015 and immediately saw a chance to bring an authentic, premium family of Irish Whiskey to market.
Partnering with the leader of the Irish Whiskey Renaissance, John Teeling, we set about developing a premium, aged blend of whiskey that captures the mystic feeling of Ireland, the luxury of the castle, and the fun of a session at Four Green Fields. We began importing and distributing in 2019. We have battled through COVID impacts in the US and Ireland, and now the brand is gaining momentum.
We won a Silver Medal at the International Wine and Spirits competition in March. As US to Ireland travel has increased, we have begun a whiskey tasting experience at Kinnitty Castle. With the opening of the new Four Green Fields Pub on 12th St. in Tampa, we have opened a tasting room. The three companies offer multiple opportunities to experience Irish Whiskey and Irish culture
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has not been smooth, but what roads were during COVID and now the residual supply chain issues from COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
The 1st struggle was shallowing the learning curve. The spirits business is still bound by complex, prohibition-era laws, which vary state by state. Next was COVID. We began dialing in our blend on-site in Dundalk Ireland. When COVID hit, we had to complete that process by sending tasting samples back and forth from Tampa to our Master Distiller in Ireland.
Our director in Ireland was prohibited from driving more than 5 KM from home, so moving product, and getting our local botanicals from the castle to the distiller (60 miles or so) was hard. Supply chain issues affected the bottles we selected, and at one point we had a shipload of whiskey stuck in port as customs were backed up.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We bring authentic, accessible Irish Spirits to enthusiasts and people beginning their journey into luxury craft spirits. The whiskey market is growing, but a lot of brands are racing to market with newer whiskey.
Our relationship with John Teeling enables us to enter the market with aged whiskey… for example, our signature blend is a 10year old, and beyond that, we distinguish ourselves by two things. First, we are authentic. Kinnitty Castle is a real place with a distinguished history and current destination for luxury travel in Ireland.
Second, we are accessible; at our price points, the connoisseur or beginner can have a premium, uniquely flavored drinking experience.
What would you say has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I am a bit of a serial entrepreneur, and one lesson has remained constant across every endeavor–there must be integrity in your product and services.
When we started we were told that to have a successful Whiskey we need a taste that does not offend, and a good story. We have great taste and an amazing story that has the benefit of being true.