Our story spans over 100 years at RED MILLS

Nestled in the scenic farm country of County Kilkenny in South-East Ireland, Connolly's RED MILLS has been the home of the Connolly family business since 1908.

Today, we are one of the most trusted global names within the areas of high performance animal feed, pet food and agri products, but our origins were a little more humble.

Our story started when Michael Connolly emigrated to Long Island in New York in the 1840s, working as a "head lad" for a French horse trainer based there. In 1866, he inherited a bakery back home in Ireland and returned to take control of it.

Inspired by his commercial experience, he bought a mill in Goresbridge in 1908, which opened under the name of William Connolly & Sons Ltd – William was Michael’s younger son.

A global brand is born

There were four mills in very close proximity, all four producing similar products for the local farming community. To stand out from the crowd, William took an unwitting step towards creating a global brand by painting the roof of his mill red - hence the name RED MILLS.

The genesis of a modern, high-tech mill came about in the 1950’s, when it was connected to the national electricity grid for the first time. By 1954, the third generation of the Connolly family was at the helm – in the form of Liam Connolly.

Liam was the driving force behind Connolly’s RED MILLS for the next half century, and set down the blueprint of innovation, new product technology, sales and marketing which were to take the company global.

The company went through some major transformations during Liam’s stewardship, and expanded from grinding grain from local farmers for resale to installing a porridge oats processing plant for human foods.

The move to animal feed

With a wealth of experience in steam cooking, pressure cooking and extrusion, in 1963 the company began processing cereals for animal feeds – and in truth, this was as much through accident as through inspiration.

When famed horse trainer,  Paddy Mullins, called to the mill to discuss a horse's eating problem, Liam Connolly made a formula to encompass all the nutritional requirements of the horse, then cooked it to make it more appetising and digestible. 

The results were astounding: the horse, Vulpine, went on to win the Irish Grand National and Powers Whiskey Gold Cup. News spread of the secret behind Vulpine’s success, and almost overnight, Connolly's RED MILLS was on its way to becoming a leading global player in equine feed and horse nutrition.

The factory was very badly damaged by fire in 1992, and the rebuilding process brought opportunities for further modernisation and expansion of our ranges of equine feed, greyhound food and petfood.

Expanding onto the world stage

By 1997, our success had encouraged us to introduce Connolly's RED MILLS into UK and the USA – amd also acquire two smaller companies in Ireland - E Morrin & Sons Ltd and Rothwell Grain & Seed Ltd.

And just two years later, we were proud to open our new state-of-the-art petfood manufacturing facility in Gowran - just five kilometres from the original RED MILLS site in County Kilkenny.

Our passion for innovation really came to the fore, and we achieved a world first in 2008 with the arrival of our NFMS (Nutrient Fresh Management System) manufacturing equipment.

Today, the RED MILLS brand is sold in 40 countries around the world, and we continue to build on our reputation for converting fresh, natural ingredients into the most trusted feed for peak performance right around the world.