Irish whiskey is the toast of National Organic Awards

Producers of whiskey, salmon, yoghurt, baby food, leeks and eggs singled out for praise

The first certififed organic Irish whiskey has gone on sale. Photograph: iStock

The first certififed organic Irish whiskey has gone on sale. Photograph: iStock

 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish households are buying more organic produce than ever before, and along with food, discerning shoppers may now include organic Irish whiskey in their spend.

Waterford Distillery’s Gaia 1.1, the result of a five-year project to produce a certified organic whiskey, took the retail award at the National Organic Awards on Tuesday. The biennial awards are presented by Bord Bia, in association with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Gaia 1.1 is distilled from organic Irish barley grown by farmers, Paddy Tobin, Alan Jackson, Pat and Denis Booth, Jason Stanley, Trevor Harris and John Mallick. As the initiative progresses, Waterford Distillery is working towards being able to produce an organic whiskey from a single farm origin.

Burren Smokehouse in Co Clare won two awards; the E-Commerce Award for the use of digital marketing to drive sales of their organic salmon range and the Business in the Community Award for “Taste the Atlantic - The Salmon Experience”, an interactive and educational visitor attraction that tells story of Irish salmon.

Yogurt company Glenisk was awarded the Marketing Campaign Award for its partnership with Self Help Africa to plant more than a million trees in Africa and Ireland.

Baby food producer Pipin Pear received an award for a new organic chilled product, Baby Beef Ragu, which is packaged in a recyclable bowl. Innovative packaging also played a part in securing awards for Begley’s Leeks, for its work with SuperValu to produce fully compostable packaging for its organic leeks, and Monaghan-based The Nest Box Egg Company, stocked in over 105 stores worldwide, for its Golden Irish 10 Organic Egg box, specifically designed for the export market.

Research commissioned by Bord Bia to coincide with the awards, reveals that 27 per cent of Irish consumers have been buying organic food weekly, or more, since the start of the pandemic. Health was the key reason for choosing organic food (73 per cent), followed by taste (65 per cent) and environmental concerns (55 per cent). The study also found that people under the age of 35 are more likely to pay more for organic food.

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