A PAIR of Killeshin food companies trumped competition nationwide to win gold at the Irish Food Awards.
Dairy Village and 12 Acres Brewery scooped the prestigious gongs at the Blas na hÉireann awards for their own-brand products. 12 Acres won bold in the beer category for their Single Malt Lager. The Village Dairy made a staggering clean sweep in the milk section, achieving gold, silver and bronze awards.
The company’s Fresh Milk won gold, while its Jersey Milk took silver and Organic Milk earned bronze. The dairy also received the Best in Carlow award for the third year running.
“We could not believe it. You were up against the big producers, small producers … every dairy under the sun,” said Noel Barcoe, manger and owner of The Village Dairy. “We had our fingers crossed and hoped we would get a bronze for one of the milks. We would have been thrilled with that, but we never expected this.”
12 Acres Brewery topped its category ahead of larger, acclaimed producers such as Cork’s Franciscan Well and Carlow Brewing Company.
“For us to beat them with our little farm brewery out in Killeshin is fantastic,” said Paddy McDonald. “We were thrilled to get gold; we would have been delighted with any medal.”
The company’s beer is stocked in many local pubs and restaurants in Carlow town, SuperValu, Centra, O’Brien’s Wines, independent off-licenses and is distributed nationally through Musgraves. The Village Dairy’s product range is available in many local outlets, including Dunnes Stores in Graigeucullen, SuperValu in Carlow and Rath’s Londis.
Both the Village Dairy and 12 Acres pride themselves on using local ingredients. And in the case of 12 Acres, everything comes from the McDonald family farm in Clonmore.
Paddy said: “We brew from our own malt and barley and our own spring water. That’s very unique. There is no other micro-brewery in Ireland doing that and there’s no other brewery tracing the farm the barley is growing on. Our single malt lager is unique, as it is 100% our own malt and brewery. Other beers would have a combination.”
The Dairy Village sources high-quality milk from two local farmers. Noel explained this was key to the company’s success at the food awards.
“It’s just the quality of the product the farmers produce. At the end of the day, we can’t make the milk better than what it is,” he said. “We work closely with farmers on what the cows are eating to make sure we get the best quality that is out there.”