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Homegrown heroes: How Maxol can take your food or drink business to the next level

Do you have a great Irish-made food or drink product? Then the team at Homegrown at Maxol want to hear from you

Brian Donaldson, CEO of Maxol: “We can’t wait to sample the entries from companies ready to take their next step with us.”

Brian Donaldson is on a mission to put more Irish food and drinks on the shelves of up to 72 Maxol  stores nationwide. To achieve it, the CEO of the family-owned Irish forecourt retailer has launched Homegrown at Maxol, an exciting new initiative which will see four local food and drinks SMEs given prime shelf space in Maxol stores, complete with marketing support and mentorship.

“The aim is to give small food and drinks businesses an opportunity to grow and expand by getting prime shelf space in our company-owned stores in the Republic of Ireland, supported by creative marketing materials, advertising and mentoring support,” Donaldson says.

“There’s a real opportunity here for small businesses to scale up. However, if 72 stores is too big an initial step, there is also scope for winners to be showcased on a regional basis. We don’t want to be too restrictive, and we encourage any business in the food and drinks sector that isn’t already working with Maxol to apply today.”

Corinna Hardgrave (left), Evelyn Moynihan of Champion Green and Brian Donaldson of Maxol will sit on the juding panel for Homegrown at Maxol

Maxol partnered with Champion Green, the national body which promotes local businesses, on Homegrown at Maxol. Evelyn Moynihan of Champion Green will be joining the judging panel, as will restaurant critic and wine writer Corinna Hardgrave, representatives from Maxol and Alex Banahan, Key Accounts Director from Maxol’s wholesale partner BWG.

“As long as the product is made in Ireland, we’d love to see it,” Donaldson says, inviting entries from those operating in areas including ambient, confectionery, deli, hot, fresh, soft drinks, juices and smoothies, teas, health and fitness, milk and dairy-based drinks, and alcohol.

The judging panel will choose four finalists from the submitted entries, and one of those finalists will be named as the inaugural Homegrown at Maxol Champion for 2023 at Maxol’s upcoming national retail conference in April.

“Our retailers will make the final decision on the overall winner. As local people operating local stores, they understand what their customers want and are therefore best placed to decide on an overall winner,” says Donaldson.

“This is about trying to find the next Keogh’s Crisps or Innocent Smoothies, both of which started off as small businesses before going on to become very successful larger entities.”

As a family-owned Irish business that has been in operation for more than 102 years, Maxol has deep roots in communities around the country.

“We know consumers want to shop local and buy local, and at Maxol we already stock a very broad range of locally-produced products. But we want to give even more prominence to these in our stores through Homegrown at Maxol,” says Donaldson.

“We can’t wait to see and sample the entries from companies ready to take their next step with us.”

To enter, companies must complete a short application form online and send a sample of their product into Maxol Head Office. They have until March 31, 2023, to enter and can find all the details on how to apply at