THE former head of innovative tech company Novosco, who sold for millions and then invested in a Co Armagh brewery, is suddenly smelling the coffee . . .
Patrick McAliskey has joined friends Vernon Fox and Martin Dummigan to pursue a shared passion and buy Cinema Coffee, which was founded in 2013 as a micro roastery in an abandoned movie theatre in Lurgan.
They’ve just acquired the business from founder Laura Chambers, and have ambitious investment plans over the next two years.
It includes relocating the roastery – whose customers include Avoca, independent retailers like Sawers in Belfast, and a range of leading coffee houses – to a purpose-built roastery in Lurgan, increasing its capacity by 600 per cent in the process.
Cinema Coffee sustainably sources high quality coffee beans from around the world and roasts them in small batches for customers, and in addition to trade customers, it has a loyal base of coffee lovers who buy its beans online.
And Patrick, a passionate runner, has also now pledged to resurrect the north’s leading series of 10km running races after a three-year hiatus, with Cinema Coffee becoming the new title sponsor of the 17-race series.
The Cinema Coffee 10k Grand Prix, coordinated by ChampionChip Ireland, will feature an enhanced £10,000 prize fund for individuals and teams and will get under way with the Jimmy’s 10k in Downpatrick on March 13 (full race details at www.cinemacoffee10k.com).
The prize structure for the Cinema Coffee 10k Grand Prix includes cash prizes for the top two runners in the under-35s category as well as prizes for the overall fastest male and female competitors.
These are in addition to the cash prizes awarded to the top 25 finalists in the series and race-day bonuses awarded to the top three runners across the finish line.
Earlier this year Patrick, Vernon and Martin announced plans to open a brewery and distillery in Lurgan as part of an initial investment of more than £2 million
Spadetown brewery, based at Silverwood industrial estate began trading recently, and Lough Neagh Distillers is expected to open later this year.
Patrick said: “We bought Cinema Coffee from founder Laura Chambers, who has created a great brand, founded on sustainably sourcing and roasting top-quality coffee in small batches.
“A big part of our ethos will be to continue sourcing and roasting the best coffee beans available and doing good in the Lurgan area by investing in our local community.”
He added: “Runners are mad about coffee, and Cinema Coffee is mad about running. So this is a fantastic partnership that helps Cinema Coffee promote its brand to potential customers and allows us to help the Grand Prix get back to where it should be, as a firm fixture in the running calendar in Northern Ireland.
“We’re really excited about the Grand Prix this year, which offers a very attractive prize fund and the chance to compete against a wide range of runners across abilities.”