‘The Czech Republic has been good to me. It is a country that rewards entrepreneurship’

Having managed drinks brands for most of his career, Paul Dubsky has taken the plunge and will be releasing Ulysses Whiskey x Art

Like James Joyce, I am a son of Dublin, and to this day I still consider it home.

I was born in 1978 and attended kindergarten and primary school at St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule until we moved to Czechoslovakia in August, 1992, where I attended Deutsche Schule Prag.

Severely dyslexic, I found school to be torture – in hindsight primarily for my teachers.

My father, Paul snr, secured the Murphy’s Stout agency for the Czech Republic when I was 17, so I left school to manage the sales and marketing of a product I was not legally allowed to consume. It was a different world then.


My parents’ plan was always to stay in Prague for five years and return to Ireland so that my mother, Karin, could continue her important work running the environmental group Coastwatch.

Within a year of launching Murphy’s, the family moved back to Ireland and I took over the reins of the business. I secured the Heineken agency, followed by Magners (Bulmers), Strongbow, Carlsberg, Fosters, Kopparberg, Hendrick’s Gin, Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell, Greenore, Connemara whiskeys and many more. When I was 21, I acquired one of Prague’s famous 1990s ex-pat haunts – a four-storey restaurant, bar and club called Jo’s Bar & Garaz.

I always tell people that running Jo’s Bar and the drinks distribution at the same time is what gave me the grey hair, not our kids. That said, it is where I met my wife, Tereza, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

We’ve been together for 22 years and have three enigmatic, bright and hilariously funny children. Oliver was born in 2004, Dominika followed in 2006 and Nina arrived in 2009. At the time we posted an announcement in The Irish Times Family Notices: “That should about do it, no more children for now.” Spaß muss sein!

Oliver taught himself the guitar, piano and drums during Covid (our neighbours are saints) and he now has a band, Sho Dawgs. Dominika and Nina have represented the Czech Republic internationally in tap dancing. Not quite Irish dancing, but close.

The Czech Republic has been good to me. It is a country that rewards entrepreneurship and my dyslexia ensured I always had an open mind and tried contrarian ideas.

For most of my career I managed other companies’ brands, but I have finally taken the plunge and will now be releasing my own. Ulysses Whiskey x Art is an international collaboration of distillers and artists, united to create a unique collection of rare whiskeys to celebrate James Joyce’s masterpiece.

We will be releasing 18 unique whiskeys over 18 years (each Bloomsday), named for the 18 episodes of Ulysses. We are bringing together Irish, Italian, Swiss, French, German, Czech, English, Scottish, Japanese, Indian, Norwegian, American distillers and more.

The first release will consist of only 5,000 bottles. Each following year we will release 250 fewer bottles.

Who aims to sell less over time? That is new.

Community is important to me; it is a family value. My grandfather, Robert snr, arrived in Ireland aged 16 as a refugee of the second World War. He was taken in by the Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College, and later studied engineering at UCD (coincidentally, Joyce was an alumnus of both).

Senior, as we all called him, would later cofound the Irish-Austrian Society in Dublin. My father was an active member for decades.

When we all lived in Prague, my father cofounded the Czech-Irish Business Association. I’ve now been an active member of the same group for more than 20 years.

  • Paul Dubsky is from Dublin. February 2nd is the 102nd anniversary of the first publication of Ulysses. It is also James Joyce’s birthday.
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