The History Of Kerrygold Irish Butter Doesn't Actually Start In Ireland

Out of the plethora of butter brands available at the grocery store these days, Kerrygold stands out. It's consistently ranked as one of the best butters on the market — and it's not just for its eye-popping gold packaging. It can cost more than other brands on the shelves, but it might be worth the price. Kerrygold is an authentic Irish butter, which means that it's made with milk from grass-fed, hormone-free cows in Ireland. It also has a high butterfat content compared to other varieties, making it richer and creamier — but the kicker is that, despite its ingredients, Kerrygold was originally sold in the United Kingdom in 1962.

That's right, while Kerrygold has always sourced its milk from Ireland, it wasn't initially sold in the country. To be fair, the brand's origins were still tied to Ireland from the start because its initial success was the result of The Irish Dairy Board, which launched in 1961 to facilitate the exportation of Ireland's milk products. After the butter hit shelves across the U.K. in 1962, it was then sold in other countries like Germany, where it's now the best-selling butter in the country (and there's even a street named after the brand). Eventually, Kerrygold butter made its way to Ireland in 1973 — 11 years after its inception.

Kerrygold Irish butter has more butterfat than American brands

In 1998, Kerrygold expanded its U.S. product line with Dubliner cheeses. The cheese is still available in varieties like aged cheddar, Swiss, and Blarney Castle, some of which are available pre-sliced and in snack-sized sticks. The brand then introduced its butter to the U.S. in 1999 and made its way into more grocery stores across the country during the early aughts. These days, it's one of the best-selling butter brands here in the U.S., with many home cooks preferring it for its high fat content. To put it in perspective, Irish butter like Kerrygold has 82% butterfat whereas American brands only need 80% butterfat to be considered real butter.

Today, Kerrygold butter is offered in salted and unsalted forms, both available in either large blocks or smaller, more convenient sticks if you want to use it for baking. More recently, the brand launched its butter blends in 2023, which currently come in three flavors: bell pepper and garden herbs, chive and onion, and sun-dried tomato with basil. If you've never used Kerrygold and want to try it now that you've learned a bit about its history, the Irish butter is perfect for baking cookies, making brown butter, or just spreading on your favorite bread. Irish brown soda bread would be a great choice if you want to lean into the butter's roots!