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  • Chicago – Ireland Connections in the Food & Beverage Industry

Chicago – Ireland Connections in the Food & Beverage Industry

  • 14 Mar 2024
  • 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • CoLaboratory, 1210 W. Lake St. Chicago, IL



With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the Chicago-Ireland food and beverage business connections that are such an important part of our industry here in the US and around the world.

We all know that Chicago is a global food innovation hub, but you might not know that Ireland is as well – with a national food research program that is a driver for science-based innovations and solutions.  And many of the companies that operate in both Chicagoland and in Ireland are genuine leaders and innovators in our industry: Kerry Ingredients, Glanbia, Abbott, CoreFX, Edlong, and Ornua Foods just to name a few!

Join CFBN and Enterprise Ireland for a fun and informative evening exploring the rich history of Ireland and Chicago, and highlighting people, products, and companies from both sides of the Atlantic that are leading the way in the food and beverage industry.

And, of course, you can count on great networking, festive cocktails and appetizers, and a great evening. We’re keeping it classy and serving Irish favorites including Guinness, Harp, and special cocktails perfect for the occasion. So, whether you are Irish forever (Erin Go Bragh) or just one day a year, join CFBN and Enterprise Ireland for this special event.


5:00pm Doors Open/Networking

5:30pm Opening Comments

5:45pm Panel Discussion

6:45pm Networking Reception

8:00pm Event Close



Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Rural and Community Development

Minister Humphreys has served in a number of other Cabinet positions. As Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Minister Humphreys led the successful 2016 Centenary Programme and during her time as Minister with responsibility for Community and Rural Development, she launched Our Rural Future the Government Action Plan for Rural Development.

As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (2017-2020), Minister Humphreys played a leading role in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic having previously being centrally involved in helping businesses prepare for Brexit. 

Prior to being appointed to Cabinet, she served as a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

Minister Humphreys previously worked with Ulster Bank and before her election to Dáil Éireann, she was Manager of Cootehill Credit Union.

Panel of experts:


Manager, Food, Sustainability, and Climate Change

Enterprise Ireland

Mark Christal is Manager of the Food, Sustainability and Climate Change Division at Enterprise Ireland with responsibility for working with Irish and Internationally owned Food companies to support them in key business areas including Competitiveness, Innovation, Leadership and Management development.  Prior to this role, Mark held numerous management positions in Enterprise Ireland. He led the Client Management Development & Client Skills department responsible for driving the leadership and management caMark is a member of the Enterprise Ireland Senior Leadership Executive team.


DBC Head of Open Gate Brewery

Diageo Beer Company and Guinness Open Gate Brewery 

Michael Donilon is a director with the Diageo Beer Company and the Head of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery.  His team has operated the current visitor experience in Baltimore since 2018 and has just opened a new Open Gate Brewery in Chicago. Since opening to guests in 2018, the Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore has welcomed over 1.4 million fans and is the number one taproom in America in sales.  

Mike and the hospitality team also partner with the brewers and Innovation teams to develop new beers for Guinness fans to enjoy onsite and at their favorite retailer. The brewery releases small batch beers for sale only to site visitors, special barrel aged releases aged in our own rick houses, and other limited time offerings to the local market.


Global VP of R&D


Dr. Bernd Koehler serves as the Global VP of R&D for Edlong, the internationally recognized leader in dairy and dairy-type flavors with facilities in the US, Mexico and Ireland.

He holds a Dr. rer. nat. Degree in Food Chemistry and Medicinal Microbiology from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. In 2001, Bernd started his professional career working in the Chemistry Department of Labor L+S in Bad Bocklet. After working as the regional head of R&D at LR-International in Ahlen, he joined Wrigley’s Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs team in Munich in 2004. Six years later, Bernd moved to the U.S. where he managed the corporate analytical laboratory at the Wrigley-MARS Global Innovation Center in Chicago, IL. From 2012 until 2022, Bernd worked for McCain Foods Limited in Oakbrook Terrace where he oversaw a broad, cross-functional team of experts in Food Science, Process Engineering, Analytical, Sensory and Regulatory, dedicated to bringing new technologies to the McCain business.




More Speakers to Come...........

Capacity is capped at 100, so sign up now to reserve your place.

This event is created in partnership with:

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