The Connolly's RED MILLS story
Nestled in the scenic farm country in County Kilkenny, Ireland, Connolly's RED MILLS has been the home of the Connolly family business since 1908.
1908: Red Mills is born
Michael Connolly emigrates to Long Island in New York in the 1840s, working as a "head lad" for a French horse trainer based there. In 1866 he inherits a bakery back home in Ireland and returns.
In 1908 the company William Connolly & Sons Ltd is established in Goresbridge, County Kilkenny. Michael buys the mill for £400 and the dwelling house a year later for his younger son William for £500.
There are four mills in very close proximity, all harnessing the natural power from the river Barrow and its tributaries, all four producing similar products for the local farming community. To stand out from the crowd, William paints the roof of his mill red - hence the name Red Mills.
The mill is connected to the national electricity grid for the first time in 1950, and begins a major transformation from water power (50 horsepower) to 4,000 horsepower today.
William's son Liam Connolly takes over the company in 1954. He builds the business over the next 46 years through innovation, new product technology, sales and marketing.
1960s: From porridge oats to racing champions
From grinding grain from local farmers for resale, the company expands and installs a porridge oats processing plant for human foods.
With a wealth of experience in steam cooking, pressure cooking and extrusion, in 1963 the company begin processing cereals for animal feeds.
When Paddy Mullins calls to the mill to discuss a horse's eating problem, Managing Director Liam Connolly makes a formula to encompass all the nutritional requirements of the horse, then cooks it to make it more appetising and digestible.
The results are astounding: the horse, Vulpine, goes on to win the Irish Grand National and Powers Whiskey Gold Cup. News spreads, and Connolly's RED MILLS is on its way to becoming a leading global player in equine feed and horse nutrition.
1990s: Innovation and expansion
The factory is rebuilt after a major fire in 1992, bringing opportunities for further modernisation and expansion of our ranges of equine feed, greyhound food and petfood.
Connolly's RED MILLS expands into UK and the USA in 1997. We also acquire two smaller companies in Ireland - E Morrin & Sons Ltd and Rothwell Grain & Seed Ltd.
In 1999 our new state-of-the-art petfood manufacturing facility comes online, five kilometres from the original Red Mills site in County Kilkenny.
2000 - present
The company continues to innovate, and invests in NFMS (Nutrient Fresh Management System) manufacturing equipment in 2008. This pioneering technology is a world first for RED MILLS and uses seven tiers of natural preservation to maintain perfect freshness for up to twelve months.
“Transportation makes up 20-30% of horse feed product cost, and confidence that Connolly's RED MILLS products will stay fresh allows many of our customers to order larger quantities and reduce transport costs by up to half,” says Michael Connolly. “Trainers and breeders must cut costs, but not the quality of the products. This new technology allows us to be able to offer the benefits and efficiencies of complete diets to new markets that hither to could not get such a choice of affordable, good quality feed.”
Read more about innovation at Connolly's RED MILLS
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