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Welsh rugby’s Fab Four launch new coffee business

L-R: Lee Byrne, Shane Williams and James Hook

The quartet of rugby legends known in their heyday as the ‘Fab Four’ are dealing with grounds of a different variety with the launch of a new business venture that will also raise funds for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

Coffee lovers Shane Williams, Mike Phillips, James Hook and Lee Byrne have gone from the Beatles to beans with flavours that reflect their individual characters and attributes as players.

Mike’s IX is “a medium bodied coffee, made using a blend of the highest quality coffee from Central and South America, delivering a delicious well-balanced coffee with smooth aftertaste, suitable anytime of the day or night”;

Lee’s XV is “a fantastic blend of the best coffee of the season, well balanced with undertones of apricot and nectarine, a vibrant lime acidity and dark chocolate finish”;

Shane’s XI is “a medium bodied coffee, made using a blend of the highest quality coffee from Colombia. A deliciously full flavour, with a creamy taste and sweet caramel finish”;

and James’ X is “a medium bodied coffee, made using a blend of the highest quality coffee from Africa, extremely bright, consisting of berry and fruit flavours, and with a deep complex body.”

Boasting a combined 308 Welsh caps and 10 British and Irish Lions appearances, the talented Galacticos amassed 742 points for Wales, earning them the nickname ‘Fab Four’ when they starred for Ospreys, Wales and the Lions. Now they are starting a new business together to create great tasting coffee, keep their friendship intact, and make a contribution to a worthy cause.

“To be honest, it was as important for us to have a reason to meet up and keep our friendship going as much as starting a business”, said Lee. “When we finished playing, we went from spending all our time together to going our separate ways, and we just wanted that shared interest to pull us back together again.”

The foursome have received a huge amount of support and guidance from Huw Williams at Great Taste Award-winning Welsh Coffee Company, who ethically source the high quality speciality grade African and Central and South American green beans before lightly roasting on the Gower.

James picks up the story: “We’d been looking for a business venture for some time, and we all love coffee, so why not start our own coffee brand with some great flavours that reflect our own personalities. As things start to look a bit more optimistic going into 2021, we want our Fab Four coffee to give people a bit of a lift.”

The new drinks venture will sit alongside the numerous other business, sports and broadcasting interests the boys have developed since hanging up their boots.

Wales’ record try scorer and former IRB Player of the Year Shane Williams MBE is a patron for Velindre, and is regularly involved in energetic fundraising efforts. He said: “For us to have fun building a brand that is made in Wales and can give something back to a fantastic charity in what’s been a really difficult year is all we want. It’s been lovely working together again, and let’s just see how far we can take this. Who knows, with global warming we may one day be able to grow the coffee beans in the Amman Valley!”

Wales’ most capped scrum-half Mike Phillips might be based in Dubai nowadays, but he’s well on board with his mates. Mike said: “Since we decided on a coffee brand, it’s come together really quickly and we’re really pleased with the product and its packaging. I bet mine sells the most!”

Launching in time for the Christmas market, the boys are looking at a variety of retail and distribution opportunities for early next year. And you could say they’ve done their global research during their playing careers, experiencing the finest coffees of France and Japan.

Fab Four coffee is available through fabfourcoffee.com – a website developed by Turf Creative, with caricatures created by Richard Bradbeer for Velindre.

For the Welsh Fab Four, it’s not about ‘Yesterday’ – they just want to make a coffee that says ‘Love Me Do’.