Take one young smart & Dublin native guy, mix it with lots of healthy juices and what do you get? Sprout & Co, one of the newest and soon to be market leaders in Irelands jucing industry. We recently caught up with Jack Kirwan to delve a little more into his life and find out how his success has come about.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m 25 years old, love food and own a cold pressed juice business called Sprout & Co.
What’s your background?
After my leaving cert I went abroad to the UK to study History and Economics. I then expected to get a corporate job of some sort but realised I would never have been fulfilled by this. I have always had a real passion for food. I would take commis chef jobs in the Avoca kitchens on my holidays but never thought I would end up in front of a hot stove full time! I eventually decided to take the leap and train professionally as a chef at Ballymaloe Cookery School where I grew really passionately interested in seasonally farmed produce because down there it is all they use. Avoca Handweavers took me on in their kitchens full time where I was taught all about the ins and outs of the food business. They opened two new premises while I was working there so it was an invaluable time be working with them in that I got to see a business from the start and the intense scrutiny that goes in to it. I learnt how hard you had to work in the food industry here to be successful!
When was the Sprout&Co founded?
I opened Sprout & Co in October 2013. I had been looking at small locations in the City Centre to open up my own fast healthy food outlet when Avoca offered me the opportunity to start my own concession within their newly developed Food Market in Rathcoole, I jumped at it. I worked on my own for the first 3 months trying to get it off the ground and got lucky in that juicing coincidentally took off in Ireland around the same time, so the timing suited!
Why did you set up Sprout & Co?
I started Sprout as I had always felt that Dublin lacked quick healthy food options. Cold pressed vegetable juicing is an immediate way to absorb the incredible nutrients from amazing produce. People living busy lives don’t always have time to make the right decisions diet wise but with juicing you can get all the health benefits from lets say a superfood salad in a 5 second drink! I wanted to start a food business that genuinely focused on using as much fresh Irish ingredients as possible. Its our mission at Sprout to get people off the black stuff and onto the green stuff.
What’s a typical day for you?
I generally rise at around 4am, our production then starts at around 2am. I work with my best friend Alec and my brother Theo has just come on board so the three of us work with our Sprout team to have everything ready to ship to our stockists for opening. As we are focused on our products freshness we have to produce and deliver seven days a week which can be challenging. Fortunately, we have a great team who are all excited about cold pressed juicing. Most food businesses focus on trying to prolong their products shelf life, we want to be known as the juice business that is actively trying to do the opposite so that our customers are getting genuine freshness from their juice on a daily basis so that they can really get the benefits from such great produce.
Biggest achievement to date?
Going from being on my own in October 2013 with my mini juicer to producing 4500 juices a week.
Plans for the future?
Continue developing cold press juicing in Ireland, lots of people still don’t know about how great they are! We are going to begin growing our own kale, spinach and herbs very soon on a farm an hour outside of Dublin. We’d love to get into this and become more self sufficient. We have just opened two POP UP juice bars in Avoca Kilmacanogue and Suffolk St too so they are keeping us occupied at the moment!
Key to your success?
I don’t know if you can call it success yet, but for me I think it was being really passionate and excited about food. I find it hard to believe you cant make it in this industry unless you have passion. I am very driven to create food products that are interesting and exciting but also beneficial for you. It is a genuine thrill when I am walking down the street seeing someone drinking a Sprout&Co SuperGreen!
Add to this the experienced guidance and advice that I got right from the start. I was fortunate to receive invaluable advice and helped with working capital that was necessary to get the business off the ground and to keep it afloat!
Why do you believe in juicing?
I believe in juicing as I know the life changing benefits that it can have. I suffered really badly from a serious skin condition from a young age, you usually grow out of this disease once you hit your twenties but unfortunately I didn’t. On the advice of a top allergy doctor in Ireland I was told to look at my diet and that juicing might be a good option. So I ditched the steroid creams and within 3 months of juicing daily my problems began to disappear. I have served hundreds of people in the last year who have similar stories and swear by juicing. Juice bars are on every street corner in places like New York and I’d love to see that here in Ireland.