|Parent||Campbell Bewley Group Ltd|
Bewley's has significant coffee roasting facilities in Ireland capable of roasting approximately 2,000 tonnes of coffee beans per annum. The company has operations in the United States; in the Boston area under the Rebecca's Cafe name and in California as Java City. Bewley's also serves customers in the United Kingdom, Europe and internationally. It employs over 1,000 people worldwide.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
The Bewley family were Quakers who originated in France and moved to Ireland in the 18th century. They entered the tea trade and in 1835 Charles Bewley landed an unprecedented cargo of 2,000 chests of tea shipped directly from China to Dublin, thereby breaking the East India Tea Company’s monopoly. The Bewley family subsequently expanded into the coffee trade and in the late 19th century they opened cafes in South Great Georges Street (1894) and Westmoreland Street (1896) in Dublin.
Following the end of the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Free State was established in 1922 and endured civil war between 1922 and 1923. The Grafton Street café was opened by Ernest Bewley in November 1927 following significant turbulence in the city. The building had once housed Whyte’s Academy, a school whose pupils included The Duke of Wellington and Robert Emmet.
Ernest Bewley undertook a complete refurbishment of the building, drawing inspiration from the European cafes of Paris and Vienna, as well as oriental tearooms and Egyptian architecture (which influenced the façade and was inspired by the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922).
Bewley’s Grafton Street became a hub of the literary, cultural, artistic, architectural and social life of Dublin. The café was frequented by Irish literary and artistic figures, including James Joyce (who mentioned the cafe in his book “Dubliners”), Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett and Sean O’Casey.
Since 1986 Bewley’s has been owned and operated by Campbell Bewley Group Limited (“Bewley’s”), which belongs to the Irish entrepreneur, sculptor and artist, Patrick Campbell,[not in citation given] and his family. Patrick Bewley, a direct descendant of the founder Joshua Bewley, still works with the company.
Bewley's Grafton Street
The company also leases and operates one of Europe's most renowned coffee and tea emporiums - Bewley's of Grafton Street. Opened in 1927, Bewley’s Grafton Street is a Dublin landmark and is Ireland’s longest established and largest café with over one million customers annually.
Bewley’s Grafton Street closed in November 2004 for a brief period and reopened in May 2005 after a careful refurbishment and restoration. Its lease was challenged by the landlord Ickendel Limited in 2007 after extensive works were carried out to the historic building without landlord consent. In 2007 the 'Mackerel' Seafood Restaurant on the first floor of the cafe was closed to accommodate demand for additional café seating.
One of the cafe's most famous assets is a set of six stained glass windows by the Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke (1889-1931), who completed them in 1927 at a then cost of some sixty thousand pounds, and are located in the main coffee and tea room named in his honour. The Harry Clarke Room is found by walking straight through the Front Café to the back of the building on the Ground Floor. This is the largest room in the building with high ceilings, chandeliers, paintings and sculptures. Bewley's Grafton Street also comprises a Café Theatre with casual seating for up to 50 people. Located in the 'Oriental Room' of the Cafe, it is Dublin's foremost stage for lunchtime drama (also including a light lunch during the show) and it is also a venue for evening cabaret, jazz and comedy. The cafe freshly roasts all coffee that is served on the premises.
The company previously operated several other cafes in Dublin which were closed over the years.
The company entered the American market by acquiring the Rebecca's Cafe chain in the Boston, Massachusetts area in 1997. Campbell Bewleys further expanded to the west coast in 2001 with the purchase of the Java City chain in California, and with franchise units in South Korea. Through its subsidiary Java City, Bewley's won the contract in 2010 to supply coffee to American Airlines.
In 2008 the company announced that it will become Ireland’s first fully certified Carbon neutral coffee company by year-end, resulting from the implementation of a major environmental sustainability initiative. The development will see over 3,500 tonnes of CO2 removed from the atmosphere each year. The announcement was made by the Irish Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, John Gormley, T.D. The plan is being achieved through active carbon reduction initiatives, a move to renewable energy sources and support for high quality certified carbon offset projects. The Carbon Neutral status will apply to Bewley’s coffee roasting, tea blending, foodservice and retail operations and will include Bewley’s Grafton Street Café.
- Charles Bewley, controversial Irish diplomat and member of the Bewley family
- List of coffeehouse chains
- Coffee portal