Blue Insurance founder Mulligan is looking for new food and drink ventures

Ciarán Mulligan, the entrepreneur who made €70m selling his Blue Insurance Company to a Zurich entity in 2018, is launching a new food and drink empire as well as a new travel company, the Irish Independent has learned.

r Mulligan is building a presence in distilling, cafes and chocolate making, with the businessman launching a slew of new businesses over the past week.

These include Mulligans Distillery, Mulligan Irish Chocolates and Mulligans Coffee. He has also started a new company called Mac & Mully, suggesting it will deal with in-store retail sales. Internet domain names MacandMully.com, MacandMully.ie and MacandMully.co.uk were registered earlier this year.

He has also just started a new company called Dream Holidays and Cruises, which the company’s records show as being involved in travel agency activities.

Mr. Mulligan’s CMUL Investments is currently the sole investor in the new companies. The latest publicly available accounts for this vehicle show that it had €49 million in cash on its books at the end of 2020. Mr Mulligan was unavailable yesterday.

Mr Mulligan began working in the insurance industry after leaving school with Coyle Hamilton. He later founded a travel insurance brand and six years later, in 2003, he founded Blue Insurance with Rowan Devereux. Mr Mulligan bought his business partner from the insurer in 2014 in a deal that valued the company at around €20m.

Zurich’s Cover-More division was bought by Blue Insurance four years ago. It is understood that €50m was paid upfront for the deal, with a potential profit of up to €20m.

In 2020, Mr. Mulligan invested €450,000 in a start-up company called Eppione that helps employers manage and automate their compliance records. It was founded in response to the Covid pandemic.

His foray into the food sector comes as the distilling sector in Ireland continues to attract investment despite the market seemingly being saturated with both new and established entrants over the past decade.

A large proportion of the independents buy their spirits from third-party suppliers, such as Teelings’ Great Northern Distillery, and create their own whiskey brands. The past decade has also seen a proliferation of gin and beer distillers and brewers across the country.

Successful independent brands include Gunpowder Gin and Teeling Whiskey. But there are a number of others that have carved themselves niches in the market and aim to sell their brands to a global audience.

Global sales of Irish whiskey hit a record 14 million cases last year, with the drink on track to overtake Scotch’s decades-long dominance in the United States. Irish whiskey sales in the US rose almost 18 percent last year to 5.9 million cases, while Scotch sales rose just 3.3 percent to 9.8 million cases.

Mr. Mulligan’s apparent interest in establishing coffee and chocolate brands is perhaps even more surprising, especially with the global economy teetering on the brink of recession. Discretionary spending on such products tends to suffer during downturns.

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/blue-insurance-founder-mulligan-eyes-new-food-and-drink-ventures-41954712.html Blue Insurance founder Mulligan is looking for new food and drink ventures

Fry Electronics Team

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