“During covid, there were long queues for the milk and the conversation”. (Paul Molloy)
Boora Bainne is a self service milk vending machine, situated beside Lough Boora Discovery Park, on the road between Blue Ball and Cloghan in County Offaly. Run by Dairy Farmer, Paul Molloy, he is an entrepreneur full of ideas. After the success of Boora Bainne he is already thinking of his next venture which is to build a new processing sight once he gets planning. A pasteurizing sight, will mean a bigger area for his vending machines and possibly a coffee vending machine.
People love the taste of Boora Bainne
After months of research and trips to other farmers in Exeter, Somerset and Antrim, Paul decided the time was right. When Covid hit, he had the time to build a cabin on sight and the business just took off; “It went absolutely crazy when we started during covid” Paul explains; “there were queues all the way down the road. People were queuing for the milk and conversation”. It was a place where people could meet and chat while getting their milk bottles refilled. During our interview, a local man, Frank Dolan arrives for his weekly supply. He has driven from Ferbane with a bag full of reusable bottles. “I make the journey because I loves the taste of it and I know exactly what’s in it!”
Boora Bainne how it works
The theory behind Boora Bainne is to get the consumer the freshest milk possible with a sustainable approach while using reusable glass bottles. At the self-service cabin, you can buy dairy milk and a large variety of flavoured milk, with strawberry proving the most popular. The cows’ milk goes into the bulk tank, through the pasteurizer where it is then filtered into two big tanks. Paul is able to milk his 100 plus New Zealand-Friesian-Jersey-cross cows, while the fully automated vending machine draws the milk up from the tanks. After a break-in, Paul had to purchase another machine with the help of Leader funding, which cost him €25,000. The overall cost of the project is estimated at €150,000. With his father Joe busy running the Tullamore Show, Paul is loooking for a business partner for his next idea.
Large Milk Producers Vs Boora Bainne
Paul explains, the tough part of the job is having to be as compliant as the larger producers, doing a thousand times as much milk as him, even though his volume is very limited; “When milk goes into a factory, they do a full skim on it, so they take off all the fat, and with that, the protein aswell. They will then add the fat back in to an exact percentage, that is then run through a homogenizer, which breaks down the fat particles, so the milk won’t separate”. Paul explains that in ‘Boora Bainne,’ the milk comes straight from the cow to a tank, through a pasteurizer, so the milk hasn’t been altered or standardized. That’s why, he says, “when you bring the milk home there wil be a sizeable amount of cream on top of the milk, this is actual whole milk. People just love the taste”.
Boora Bainne, the next step
Paul believes he has grown a lot from the whole experience, with a lot of challenges along the way and now he would like “to have an incentivized business partner who is willing to go into the next project phase”. Paul explains that the volume at present is too small, “It has great potential and if it was a much bigger operation, it could be opened up to catering companies, cafes and restaurants”. Paul’s favourite part of the process is the ‘set up’ and he now wants to move off-site and become a major supplier, for eg. “Indian restaurants who use a huge supply of milk for their food and drinks. There is definitely a market there.” The new facility would have a chilling space to store 10 or 20 litre milk churns, which would be a ready-made supply to catering companies, cafes or restaurants.
Boora Bainne opens every day from 8am to 9pm with the strawberry flavoured milk the biggest attraction. Don’t forget to bring back your reusable bottle!