You can see them almost everywhere in the Irish capital: the white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter sporting the mermaid logo. Just the sight of them driving by is enough to make many a gourmet’s mouth water, because these vans transport luxury seafood. Three brothers run the Wrights of Marino. They are an imposing group. Jeffrey, Jonathan and James are not only the fourth generation responsible for the Wrights of Marino. No, they also live next to each other and spend their free time together. Even major family events such as weddings and births seem synchronized among the brothers. While other families fight over their inheritance, the Wright brothers have taken what they inherited and built the Wrights of Marino into Ireland’s leading supplier of seafood. “This was the greatest success of John, our father, as a manager”, says Jonathan Wright while providing a tour through the company’s own fish processing plant in Howth, a peninsula belonging to Dublin. “He succeeded in involving the three of us in the company without causing disputes or dissatisfaction.” With a smile he adds that there are some people who cannot believe that things are so harmonious. Yet the secret is quickly revealed: All of the brothers have their own tasks and responsibilities, every voice is equal and they have all been involved in the fish business since they were born. The latter applies to their father, John, almost literally: He grew up on the floor above the fish shop founded by his parents in 1934. In the 1970s John took over the business and managed it together with his mother. He continues to support his sons with advice to this day.
A fleet of Sprinter vans stands outside the Wright’s plant in Howth in the dawn. While the drivers are still fast asleep, others are already hard at work in the processing plant. It is 5 o’clock in the morning. Cod, halibut, hake and seafood such as lobsters and shrimps – Fresh fish from throughout Ireland is delivered here every day. Seafood from France, Iceland, Greece, Norway, the Faroe Islands and many other countries is also delivered to the fish processing plant. However, salmon is one of the family-owned company’s most important fish. Cultivated in Ireland, it is processed in the company’s own smoking chamber in Howth, giving it a longer shelf life. The smoking process demands extensive preparation. The salmon is first filleted by hand, deboned and then generously covered in salt. The fish loses up to 10 % of its weight while the flavor is greatly intensified. After six hours the salt is washed off by hand. The fillets are placed on sieves and then moved into the smoking chamber. Afterward they are packed in ice for 36 hours before the salmon is cut into thin slices and packaged. This is a lot of work. Yet work which pays off for the Wrights. “During the Christmas season we fillet around 10,000 salmon halves here”, says Jonathan Wright. The Wrights of Marino can also be satisfied with their business throughout the year: “More than 70 % of the salmon served in the Irish capital comes from us”, says Jonathan Wright. The company also regularly fills international orders. These are handled by the Wrights of Marino’s 50 employees.
The 10 vans transport the fish to its destination up to 300 times a day: the company’s major customers include five-star hotels, restaurants, pubs and catering services. Naturally, the Wrights of Marino also supply their own shop in the Dublin suburb of Marino. The entrepreneurial family remembers its roots and maintains its tradition: The shop remains in the same location. The renovations took five months to return the premises to their original design. The shop was closed for five full months. A long time. Yet the customers returned. Attracted by the home-baked bread and cakes, freshly prepared dishes and fresh coffee. And naturally seafood without end. The Wrights also remain loyal to another customer. “Every year we send a shipment of salmon to Italy”, says Jonathan Wright and grins. “The man is more than 80 years old and placed orders with our grandmother before I was even born. And he continues to place orders with us.” That is also living tradition.