3rd September 2020 - Page 52



52
BUSINESS
FARMWEEK
AUGUST 08 2019
Great taste and thriving innovation
sets our fabulous food and drink apart
I
ALWAYS get very irritated when
people in the ‘corridors of power’
attempt to dismiss the food and
drink industry here for not being
‘techy’ or lacking in innovation.
This attitude shows a basic lack of
knowledge and insight about what I
know is a very dynamic and marketled industry.
Food and drink is a responsive
industry that’s in touch with
customers and focused on coming
up with original and authentic food
and drink, operating increasingly
successfully in markets beyond these
shores and especially in Great Britain
and the Republic of Ireland, our two
biggest markets.
The innovation and commitment to
premium products were showcased
last week in the prestigious Great
Taste Awards and the British
Charcuterie Awards. We also
saw Dale Farm, our biggest dairy
business, collecting a host of gold,
silver and bronze medals at the
inuential International Dairy and
Cheese Awards for its entire range
of cheddar cheese that it produces
at Cookstown, among the most
impressive factories in the UK and
further aeld.
Every year the UK Guild of Fine
Food challenges specialist companies
Food for
thought
Michele Shirlow
Chief Executive of
Food NI
across the British Isles and parts
of Europe to come up with smart
and tasty ideas in the iconic Great
Taste Awards. Our companies, I
am delighted to say, have always
responded and come out on top in
many categories.
Three of our companies have won
the supreme championship four
times in the past eight years. And
hundreds have gained a host of stars
for original products that the judges
rate either as ‘exquisite, exceptionally
delicious or simply delicious’. We’re
now among the very best performers
in Great Taste in the UK, Ireland and
other parts of Europe.
There will be eight local products
from most categories – meat, seafood,
baking our, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, snack foods, and
condiments in the running for the
All our ‘star’ performers used their
know-how and skills to come up with
hundreds of original products that
combine outstanding taste and quality
with authenticity and provenance.”
premiere award this year. That’s an
outstanding acknowledgement of the
talent in the industry here.
All our ‘star’ performers used their
know-how and skills to come up
with hundreds of original products
that combine outstanding taste
and quality with authenticity and
provenance. These characteristics
are increasingly driving consumer
choices in many markets.
Food NI’s role is to promote these
companies, their products and
personalities behind them both
here and abroad. We are focused in
particular on measures to harness
the dedication of producers here to
inject ‘personality’ into the industry in
response to the developing demand
in most markets from consumers
wishing to know the people behind
the food and drink in their stores.
Winning the title of World’s Best
Food Destination at the World
Travel Trade Awards in London last
November was a massive step in this
direction, because tourists and other
visitors are inuenced by quality and
originality of food and drink available
and usually keen to know more about
those producing these and how they
are produced.
We’d love to have the resources
to do more, especially in terms
of our engagement in Britain and
the Republic. As a membership
organisation, our nancial resources
in particular are limited.
Successes in international
competitions are vitally important
because they help younger
companies in particular to overcome
the traditional Northern Irish
inferiority complex about their
products by showing that they can
compete and overcome competitors
in Britain.
Great Britain remains the largest
market for the Northern Ireland food
and drinks processing sector with
sales increasing to £2,337.1 million
and representing 49 per cent of total
sales in 2017, according to a report
from the Department of Agriculture,
Environment and Rural Affairs
(DAERA).
The report comes as fears grow
over a post-Brexit inux of food and
drink from outside the British Isles.
I for one do not wish to eat grain-fed
beef from other countries where
animals are housed 24/7 in massive
lots and routinely fed antibiotics. It’s
not good for the animals and it’s not
good for humans.
Even though we are emerging as a
region with high quality produce the
challenge remains that many of the
smaller companies lack the nancial
and time resources to commit to
meaningful marketing in Britain.
We’d love to see funding to help
many more of our Great Taste
Winners, for instance, to harness the
potential of their excellent products
in Britain and the Republic.
I am especially grateful to Invest
NI for enabling us to take a number
of companies to major trade shows
in Britain and the Republic. We
will continue this drive to use our
marketing skills, contacts and
knowledge to help smaller companies
develop the condence and routes to
sell their award winning products in
both markets.
Prestigious Silver award
for Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin
A
GIN distilled in Northern
Ireland by Dr Ulrich Dyer at
The Woodlab Distillery has
been awarded Silver in the 2019
International Wine & Spirit
Competition (IWSC).
The premier experts judging in
this prestigious competition, which
has been judging wines and spirits
and awarding medals to the world’s
best products for over 50 years, have
awarded Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin 93
points out of 100 and worthy of a silver
medal.
Symphonia gin spirits are the
brainchild of Dr Ulrich Dyer – a scientist
who, after spending 30 years in the
pharmaceutical industry, turned his
skills to producing gin.
Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin is the rst in
a composition of three handcrafted Irish
spirits and are distilled near Benburb in
County Tyrone.
The range also includes Symphonia
No.2 Apple Gin, a gin made from the PGI
protected Armagh Bramley Apple which
blends seamlessly with juniper to create
a crisp, refreshing spirit. Symphonia
No.3 Fruit Cup is a summer fruit
drink inspired by the raspberries and
strawberries grown in the distillery’s
garden.
Speaking about the honour, Dr Ulrich
Dyer said: “The International Wine &
Spirit Competition is one of the most
prestigious competitions which has
been rewarding excellence for over 50
years.
“For Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin to be
announced as the Silver winner is a
great honour coming from the IWSC
which sets the international benchmark
for quality.
“Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin is a beautiful
harmony of avours including basil,
rose and dandelion owers – all
grown in the grounds of The Woodlab
Distillery.
“I have developed some innovative
distillation processes, such as
vacuum and microwave distillation, to
extract avours and fragrances from
ingredients which would be impossible
using traditional pot-still distillation.
“This gives a wider palette of avours
and this allows a greater complexity
and subtlety in the taste of these gins.
So this is a great coup for Symphonia
Gin and I am absolutely delighted.”
The IWSC judging panels are made
up of key international inuencers and
decision makers from the wine and
spirit industry.
Key areas of the industry are
represented in the judging panels
including on-trade, off-trade, specialist
drinks writers and critics.
The winners are showcased
throughout the year at dozens
of international trade shows, at
hundreds of consumer tastings and
will be presented to over 600 industry
professionals at the annual Awards
Banquet which is known in the wine
and spirit world as the ‘Oscars of the
industry’.
YOUR ARTISAN SUPPLIERS
BELFAST:
Arcadia, 378 Lisburn Road.
Yellow Door, 427 Lisburn
Road.
Sawers Deli, Fountain
Centre, College Street.
Swantons Gourmet Foods,
Lisburn Road.
St George’s Food Market,
Oxford Street,
Every Saturday and Sunday;
8am-2pm.
COUNTY ANTRIM:
Ballylagan Organic Farm
Shop, 12 Ballylagan Road,
Straid.
Barr’s Deli, Ballymoney
Street, Ballymena.
Montgomery’s Ballymoney
Street, Ballymena.
Jackson’s Butchers and
Bakery, Main Street,
Ballynure.
Park Deli, Ballycastle.
Templepatrick Market
Fourth Sunday; 11am-6pm.
COUNTY ARMAGH:
Chapman’s Deli and Farm
Shop, Dobbin Road,
Portadown.
Forthill Farm Shop, 80
Ballymore Road, Tandragee.
John R Dowey and Son, 20
High Street, Lurgan.
Yellow Door Deli & Patisserie,
Portadown.
John Mitchell Place Market,
Fridays.
COUNTY LONDONDERRY:
Walled City Market, Guildhall
Square, First Saturday;
10am-4pm
Culdrum Organic Farm,
31a Ballylintagh Road,
Aghadowey.
Ditty’s Home Bakery, Main
Street, Castledawson and
Rainey Street, Magherafelt.
JC Stewarts, Rainey Street,
Magherafelt.
Culmore Organic Farm,
Culmore House, 54 Bann
Road, Kilrea.
COUNTY DOWN:
Churchtown Organic Farm
Shop, Strangford.
Harrison’s Farm Shop,
Ballybryan Road,
Greyabbey.
Heatherlea, Main Street,
Bangor and Strandtown,
Belfast.
Helen’s Bay Organic Farm, 23
Seaview Terrace, Helen’s
Bay.
McCartney’s, Main Street,
Moira.
McKee’s Country Store,
28 Holywood Road,
Newtownards.
Meat Merchant, Kilmore
Industrial Estate, Moira
Orr’s, Main Street, Holywood.
Pheasant’s Hill Farm Shop,
37 Killyleagh Road,
Downpatrick.
Quail’s Fine Foods, Newry
Street, Banbridge.
The Upper Square (Market)
Every second Saturday;
10am-1pm.
COUNTY FERMANAGH:
MacNean Farm, Belcoo,
Enniskillen
O’Doherty’s Fine Meats, 3
Belmore Street, Enniskillen.
WINNER: Dr Ulrich Dyer, of The Woodlab Distillery in Benburb,
County Tyrone with the Silver medal winner Symphonia No.1 Dry Gin
and the prestigious accolade from the International Wine and Spirit
Competition.
COUNTY TYRONE:
Cloughbane Farm Shop 160
Tanderagee Road, Pomeroy
Deli on the Green,
Moygashel, Dungannon.
Market, Tesco’s Car Park,
First Saturday;
8.30am-1pm.
Canal Basin Market,
Last Saturday; 10am-2pm

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