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Bewley's Limited
Company typeLimited
Founded1840; 184 years ago (1840) in Dublin, Ireland
HeadquartersNorthern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin, Ireland
ProductsCoffee, tea
Revenue170 Million[1] (2019)
ParentBewley's Ltd

Bewley's is an Irish hot beverage company, located in Dublin and founded in 1840, which operates internationally. Its primary business operations are the production of tea and coffee, and the operations of cafés. Bewley's has operations in Ireland, the UK and the United States; in the Boston area under the Rebecca's Cafe name and in California as Java City.


The Bewley family were Quakers who originated in Cumberland and moved to Ireland in the 17th century.[2] They entered the tea trade, and in 1835, Samuel Bewley and his son Charles landed 2,099 chests of tea shipped from Canton in China.[3] The Bewley family subsequently expanded into the coffee trade and in the late 19th century, they opened cafes in South Great George's Street in 1894, and Westmoreland Street in 1896. The flagship Grafton Street café was opened by Ernest Bewley in 1927.[3] The Grafton Street building had once housed Whyte's Academy, a school whose pupils included the Duke of Wellington and Robert Emmet.[4]

In 1986 the company was taken over by Campbell Catering[5] forming the Campbell Bewley Group. By 1999, the company operated more than twenty cafes in Ireland and six overseas.[6] In 2010 they employed around 800 people worldwide,[7] although 140 jobs were lost in early 2015 with the closure of the Bewley's Oriental Café on Grafton Street in Dublin.[8] In May 2018, Bewley's launched 100% recyclable cups.[9][10]


Bewley's Grafton Street[edit]

Bewley's Oriental Café on Grafton Street

The company has operated a café on Dublin's Grafton Street since 1927.[3] Sometimes described as a "Dublin landmark"[8] the building shows influence from the Art Deco movement, with its façade decorated with an Egyptian Revival mosaic, a style rare in Dublin. It was designed by the Dublin architectural firm, Millar & Symes.[11] In the interior, there are stained glass windows by Harry Clarke showing orders of architecture. The windows are on the ground floor towards the back of the building.[12] A stained glass window by artist Jim Fitzpatrick from the Mary Street branch was stored after its closure and then transferred to the remaining Grafton Street branch.[13] A third stained glass artist's work is included in the Grafton Street store, a window by Pauline Bewick entitled Cafe Society.[12] The building was modified extensively in 1995.[11]

This outlet was closed between November 2004 and May 2005 for refurbishment and restoration.[14] In 2007, its lease was challenged by the landlord, Ickendel Limited, after extensive works were carried out without landlord consent.[15] The Grafton Street premises closed again for more extensive refurbishment works from February 2015.[8] By October 2015, Bewley's announced that the length of the closure would extend,[16] and by mid-2016, the date of reopening had been pushed back to the end of 2016.[17] Ultimately, in November 2017, Bewley's Grafton Street was reopened after the "1000 day" multimillion-euro refurbishment.[18]

In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, management informed staff that the Grafton Street café would close permanently "in the coming weeks", leading to the loss of 110 jobs.[19] However, in late July 2020, it was announced that it would re-open on a phased basis.[20]

The lease was subject to court proceedings from the landlord, as RGRE v Bewley's, related to the windows in the building.[21]

US and UK[edit]

Selection of herbal teas packaged for retail sale

The company acquired the Rebecca's Cafe chain in the Boston, Massachusetts area in 1997,[22] and expanded to the west coast in 2000 with the purchase of the Java City brand.[23][24]

Bewley's entered the UK market in 2011 following the acquisition of speciality coffee supplier, Darlington's before acquiring Bolling Coffee in 2013 and UK foodservice distributor, Peros in 2015.[25][26]


Bewley's themselves operated a number of other branches in Dublin City Centre, including Fleet Street/Westmoreland Street (now a TGI Fridays); Mary Street[27] and a short-term branch on South Great Georges Street during the refurbishment of the Grafton Street location. Branches also existed in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport in some Waterstones stores,[28] and in Arnotts department store [29] as well as Belfast and Bangor.[30]

A franchise operator ran multiple locations in suburban shopping centres including Nutgrove, The Square, Tallaght, Omni Park, Stillorgan Shopping Centre, the old Dundrum Shopping Centre as well as the chains first location on South Great Georges Street.[31][32] Some of these locations had previous been run by the company directly.[33] Franchised locations previously existed in Belfast and Portadown, closing in 1996.[30]

Bewley's Hotels[edit]

Bewley's Hotels were a chain of hotels using the Bewley's trademark both in Ireland and in the United Kingdom, owned by Slaney Foods and the Moran Hotel Group.[34]

This brand licensing agreement ended by mid-2015,[35] following the sale of Moran Bewleys Hotels to Dalata Hotel Group.[36]

The flagship hotel in the chain was in a restored 19th century Masonic school in Ballsbridge. Now known as the Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge, some Masonic symbolism remains visible in the building's ornamentation.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brewley's Today". 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ Bewley, Edmund Thomas (1902). The Bewleys of Cumberland and their Irish and other descendants. Dublin: William McGee.
  3. ^ a b c "Bewleys - About us - Our heritage". Bewleys.com. Archived from the original on 4 November 2017. [In 1835] Bewley and his son Charles import 2,099 chests of tea directly from Canton in China to Dublin on the clipper ship The Hellas, thereby breaking the East India Tea Company's monopoly [...in 1927] Ernest Bewley opens Bewley's Grafton Street Café
  4. ^ "Bewley's iconic Grafton Street cafe closes its doors for refurbishment". Irish Times. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2017. The upper floors of the [Bewley's Grafton Street] building once housed Whyte's Academy, a grammar school established in 1758, with former pupils including Thomas Moore, Robert Emmet and the Duke of Wellington
  5. ^ Coogan, Ann (30 May 2013). "Inside the small world of Bewley's boss Paddy". Independent.ie. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  6. ^ Fleming, Dierdre (16 July 1999). "Bowler's provides refuge". Bangor Daily News. p. C6. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  7. ^ Slattery, Laura (29 October 2010). "Bewley group made profit of €1.6m last year". The Irish Times. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Murphy, Patricia (27 February 2015). "Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street shuts its doors for six months this afternoon". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Bewley's launch 100% recyclable and compostable takeaway cups". newstalk.com. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Bewley's coffee to-go cups now fully recyclable | Marketing.ie". marketing.ie. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Bewley's Oriental Cafes, 78-79 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, DUBLIN". Buildings of Ireland. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  12. ^ a b Fallon, Donal (9 May 2020). "Remembering Bewley's: Once 'the heart and the hearth of Dublin'". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  13. ^ Falvey, Deirdre (28 March 2019). "Ever looked up at Bewley's on Grafton Street? Here's what you're missing". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Bewley's cafés in Dublin close". RTÉ News. 1 December 2004.
  15. ^ McDonald, Dearbhail (11 January 2007). "Bewley's will fight bid to take away its lease". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  16. ^ McLoughlin, Gavin (12 October 2015). "Grafton Street Bewley's to reopen in February or March". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  17. ^ Walsh, Kayla (12 June 2015). "Bewley's reopening delayed by revamp". Dublinlive.ie. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  18. ^ RTÉ (1 November 2017). "Bewley's café reopens after renovations". RTÉ News. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Bewley's Grafton St set to close with 110 job losses". 6 May 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020 – via www.rte.ie.
  20. ^ McGrath, Dominic. "Bewley's on Grafton Street set for re-opening next month". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Judgment on Bewley's Harry Clarke windows is delayed". Business Post.
  22. ^ "Bewleys lining up £15m takeover of Kylemore". Irish Independent. 7 February 1998. Last August [1997] it bought the Boston-based Rebecca's Cafe
  23. ^ "Java City Merges with Campbell-Bewley Group". Tea and Coffee Trade. May 2001. Archived from the original on 29 June 2001.
  24. ^ "Bewley's US operations win major airline contract". Food and Drink Digital. 29 December 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2012.
  25. ^ "Bewley's acquires British supplier Bolling Coffee". RTÉ News. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  26. ^ McCabe, Sarah (14 February 2016). "Bewley's hunts new acquisitions among UK and US coffee houses". Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  27. ^ McCaughren, Samantha (20 February 2002). "Bewleys sells Mary St leasehold". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Bewley's to close its landmark cafes". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 29 October 2004.
  29. ^ "Bewley's at Arnotts". arnotts.ie. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Bewleys close three NI cafes". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 10 May 1996.
  31. ^ "Bewley's cafe to leave Georges St". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 10 June 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  32. ^ Morgan, Edel (21 June 2000). "Former Bewley's still vacant as planners promote retail". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  33. ^ "SIPTU votes to strike at Bewleys". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 31 August 1996. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Moran Hotel group buys Bewleys hotel chain". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Former Bewley hotels to be rebranded by Dalata". Irish Times. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  36. ^ "Dalata set to buy Moran Bewley's Hotel Group for €455m". Irish Times. 17 December 2014.
  37. ^ "The Masonic History of Bewley's Hotel". Newsfour.ie. June 2014.

External links[edit]