Dundalk Truck and Trailer and how the distribution of Guinness has changed

Ale and Hearty “We are still very much a family-run operation,” Hand comments, talking about the business his father, Oliver, started back in 1979 with an AEC Mandator flatbed. “It was pretty much general haulage around the area in those days. He was open to carrying everything and anything.”

That original business, Oliver Hand Transport, evolved into DTT and is run today by Sean, his sister Claire and mother Gretta. “My son Ryan works here now too, as does Claire’s son Ciaran,” adds Hand proudly. The lads spend most of the time in DTT’s workshop, which runs as a third-party garage as well as doing repair and maintenance on its own vehicles. The association with Guinness dates back to the early 1980s back when the brewer had two operations in Dundalk.

One, The Great Northern Brewery on the Carrick Road, was the home to Harp lager, first brewed in the town in 1960. “Without exaggeration, Guinness is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation,” stresses Hand. And since the world’s appetite for stout is never satisfied, the distribution process never stops. DTT operates three trucks on the Guinness tank work, and driver turnover is low, with most staff tending to make a career here.

One employee is nearing 40 years with the company, while another has celebrated 19 years.

The fleet is a mix of makes and models, although the newest additions are all Volvo FHs. “We have eight in total, all Globetrotters or Globetrotter XLs,” says Hand.

All new trucks come with a two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, but all non-essential servicing and parts replacement is done by DTT’s workshops. “Doing the repair and maintenance in-house doesn’t make it cheaper, but we do it because we have our mechanics and the workshop is in our yard, so there’s an obvious saving of not having to travel back and forth to the dealer,” Hand comments.