George Best Belfast City Airport has announced that a cider product from Portadown has been crowned the winner of a competition offering one local food and drink producer £30,000 of marketing support and brand visibility at the airport.
Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider has beaten nine other local products in a final tasting session at Belfast City Airport which included a panel of food and drink experts headed by Charles Campion, one of the UK’s most high-profile food critics.
The competition, launched in partnership with Food NI and local councils in January to find the ‘Best’ local food and drink product, offered the prize of £20,000 of branding on site at Belfast City Airport and £10,000 of online support through the airport’s digital channels.
Joining Charles on the tasting panel for the final shortlisted 10 products were Joanne Deighan, Commercial Manager at Belfast City Airport, Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, and food and beverage expert Charlie Kerlin, Director of Corporate Finance at Grant Thornton.
The tasting session was the final stage of the competition, which also involved a detailed application process and a two-week social media competition.
Joanne Deighan, Commercial Manager at Belfast City Airport, said:
“We are delighted to announce that Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider has been crowned Northern Ireland’s ‘Best’ local food and drink product and will receive the fantastic prize of £30,000 of marketing support at Belfast City Airport.
“Over 2.67 million passengers from across the world travel through the airport each year and to receive this amount of exposure will help significantly elevate the profile of Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider to an international level.”
Long Meadow Cider is owned by husband and wife, Pat and Catherine McKeever. Managing Director Pat commented:
“We are totally overwhelmed to win this fantastic prize and would like to say a huge thank-you to the organisers. To just make the final shortlist was a massive achievement in itself, and to be named winner amongst such strong competition is a major honour.
“The marketing prize and the brand exposure we will receive through Belfast City Airport will have a phenomenal impact on our business. We are a family firm that is extremely passionate about what we do and this prize will help take our product to another level.”
Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, said:
“Huge congratulations to our winner, Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider, and also to our nine incredible finalists, each of whom has done exceptionally well to reach this stage of the competition.
“I would also like to thank everyone on our judging panel, and I want to offer a special word of thanks to celebrated food critic Charles Campion for his invaluable input.”
Charles Campion, acclaimed food critic for The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard, said:
“Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider is a worthy winner of this fantastic competition and it was a pleasure to be on the judging panel.
“This initiative is further evidence that Northern Ireland is truly making its mark in the global food and drink market.”
The full list of 10 shortlisted products was:
• Mash Direct – Champ
• Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider
• Melting Pot Traditional Butter Fudge
• Morelli’s Ice Cream – Double Cream Vanilla Ice Cream
• Boatyard Distillery – The Boatyard Double Gin
• Abernethy Butter Company – Abernethy Butter
• Mauds Ice Creams Ltd – Poor Bear’s Delight
• Pop Notch – Salted Caramel Popcorn
• Donnybrewer Butter
• Rademon Estate Distillery – Shortcross Gin
Original story here.