Award Success for Northern Ireland Beer and Cider

Beer and ciders from Northern Ireland were successful at the recent all-Ireland awards held at Kilkenny in county Kildare. The three successful producers are Food NI members.

Organised by Beoir, an industry organisation that supports craft beer and cider producers, the Champion Beer of Ireland Competition took place at the Killarney Beer Festival.

Almost 150 craft beers were judged by a panel of experts including Melissa Cole, Des de Moor and Tim Webb from the UK along with André Brunnsberg from Finland, Jan Lochota from Poland and Carl Kins from Belgium.

Northern Ireland’s Hillstown Bewery, based on a family farm near Ballymena in county Antrim, struck gold for its quirky Goat’s Butt brew in the German Wheat Beer category. It was the only beer from Northern Ireland to be recognised.

Nigel Logan, the founder of Hillstown Brewery on his farm, said: “We are delighted to have this important award for our distinctive wheat beer. It will be immensely important as we seek to grow business throughout the island of Ireland.”  He founded the brewery as part of a project to develop Wagyu-style beef on the small farm. The craft brewer not has a portfolio of 10 beers and recently launched IPA in cans.

There was greater success for Northern Irish cider producers, the top awards going to Tempted of Lisburn, county Antrim, a business formed by cider enthusiast Davy Uprichard.
As well as winning the Champion Cider competition for his dry cider, he took home three other awards with the dry cider coming best in category, Tempted Elderflower awarded best fruited cider and Tempted Sweet took second place in the non-dry category.

Mr Uprichard, a first generation cider-maker with eight years’ experience, is rightly pleased with his cider’s success: “I knew my cider was good – it’s won plenty of awards before but to receive this award on my home turf and beating a lot of other cider-makers who I respect makes it more meaningful.”

There were awards too for Mac Ivor’s Cider from county Armagh. The producer came third in dry ciders and was highly commended for its medium cider. It was second in fruited ciders for its plum and ginger cider.

The competition was organised by Steve Lamond, cider liaison officer for Beoir, the Irish Beer Consumers Association. “I wanted to showcase the breadth and depth of ciders available on the island of Ireland and give the recognition to those producers that is well overdue.”

Susanna Forbes, one of two lead judges alongside Pete Brown, added: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to judge the first Champion Cider of Ireland competition. Quality overall was commendable, with a few exceptions. Beoir is to be congratulated on this positive initiative to welcome entries north and south of the border. As it becomes further established, I’d welcome seeing further cider makers in the competition in future years.”