Artisan butcher & Dunnes Stores celebrate unique partnership

A fifth generation family butcher is celebrating its exciting partnership with Dunnes Stores, which is the first significant collaboration of its type between an artisan producer and a retailer of this size.

The collaboration between the two great family businesses – James Whelan Butchers (JWB) and Dunnes Stores, is said to be the “future of Irish businesses” whereby the specialist craft and skill of artisan producers is shared with, and promoted in, large retailers.

The collaboration, which now sees JWB as a large concession within two major Dublin Dunnes Stores – Cornelscourt and the Swan Centre, Rathmines, is a unique and significant innovation in the retail market.

Customers can enjoy a greater choice within a supermarket environment and an intimate and authentic artisan shopping experience within a dedicated James Whelan butcher shop where they can watch, discuss, sample and choose produce from JWB’s highly-skilled butchers.

JWB has five craft butcher shops in Ireland, including two in collaboration with Avoca, a much-loved Irish brand, in its Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue and Rathcoole stores.

JWB is renowned for its commitment to supplying the highest quality produce and for its award-winning and diverse range of products, some of which are stocked in Harrods and Fortnum and Mason in the UK.

According to Pat Whelan, who is the fifth generation to head up JWB, the partnership will allow him to greatly grow and develop the business while staying true to, and sharing its culture, passion and dedication to the art of butchery which has been passed down through his family.

This is business as it’s never been done before. It’s a celebration of opportunity that now sees a major retailer giving a main stage to an artisan producer. We can now share our passion for the art of butchery and our wide range of produce with a much wider audience.

“Of pivotal importance to us is that Dunnes Stores is as passionate as we are in fostering the identity and craft we’ve built over the decades. It is the stuff of dreams and also a win-win for customers who have access to the highest quality produce made with passion and craft. For Dunnes Stores, this collaboration is also about building on the future of Irish food.”

More than 20 new jobs have been immediately created as a result of the collaboration.

Dunnes Stores is investing heavily in JWB’s business and its people and plans to expand its JWB outlets to other locations around Ireland in the future.

Pat Whelan is renowned for his innovative approach to developing and growing JWB. He recently opened a Butcher Academy, which is Ireland’s first formal training academy for the craft of butchery which has been awarded FETAC Level 6 accreditation.

Pat is also the founder of the Tipperary Food Producers Network, a community of 30 businesses that together employ 230 people and represent, promote and showcase the best of local produce. The group was founded through Pat’s inherent belief that sustainability and growth can be achieved through a collaborative approach, as existed by our forefathers in the Meitheal customs and traditions.

Pat is also the author of two books – An Irish Butcher Shop and The Irish Beef Book. Meanwhile, JWB was the first butchers to have an online presence and it was the first to form part of the Origin Green programme.

To find out more about James Whelan Butchers visit


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