Local malting barley growers were honoured last week at a prestigious awards ceremony that took place in the Guinness Storehouse.
Colm Fingleton, Powelstown, Stradbally; John Paul Morrin, Russellstown, Athy; Thomas Fennelly, Cloncassin, Clonbullogue; and Eugene Ryan, Ballycarroll, Portlaoise were among the malt barley award winners.
The Irish Malting Barley Excellence Awards recognise excellence in malting barley production and promote sustainability in the malting barley supply chain.
The awards are organised by Boortmalt, one of the largest producers of malt in the world, and the awards hosted jointly by Diageo, the largest purchaser of malting barley in Ireland and Boortmalt.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes T.D, presented the overall winner, William Masterson from Clohamon, Co Wexford, with his award.
As part of the prize, Mr Masterson will be brought for a three day trip to the Axereal Research and Innovation centre, ‘Domaine du Chaumoy’, near Bourges in France.
The purpose of the trip will be to raise awareness of innovative farming practices that lead to greater sustainability in the supply chain.
The importance of a strong indigenous barley industry was highlighted at the awards. Those present at the ceremony heard that Diageo is the largest purchaser of malting barley in Ireland and annually purchases over 10 per cent of Ireland’s total domestic production of barley for their products.
The total sum of Diageo agricultural purchases is worth over €1bn to the Irish rural economy annually.
Speaking at the event, Paul Armstrong, Supply Director Brewing, International Supply Centre, Diageo, said:
“I am delighted to be able to honour Ireland’s malting barley growers here. Barley is an essential ingredient for our products and we place a huge emphasis on purchasing locally and ensuring supply chain sustainability.
“We have invested a lot of time and money in ensuring a tight quality control regime around cereal sourcing in Ireland – that is from grain to glass.
Also speaking at the awards, Mr Yvan Schaepman, CEO at Boortmalt Group, said:
“We can proudly say today that we have in Ireland a truly World Class barley supply chain from seeds to glass. Which is a perfect fit for the “state of the art” new Guinness brewery in Dublin. Everyone has played an important role for that achievement.