Speciality/Artisan Food Marketing Workshop (Focus on Digital Marketing)

UCC Course
Blas na hÉireann, in partnership with the Food Industry Training Unit in UCC, are running this 1-day FREE WORKSHOP
Cost: Free – Limited to 20 places
Registration Deadline: 21st November, 2018
Award: All participants will receive a Digital Badge
Find out more details

Dr Angela Sheehan / Dr Amy-Jane Troy
a.sheehan@ucc.ie / amyjane.troy@ucc.ie

021 490 1423 / 021 490 2799

Cork Deliveries? Another kind offer!

Martin Higgins of Martin’s Homemade Jams has very kindly offered to assist any other finalist producers with deliveries.
He will be travelling from Cork on Tuesday 2nd of October (based in Mallow) and can assist with ambient product (entries would need to be dropped to him on Monday 1st)
You can reach him on 0863578609 or martinsjams2013@gmail.com



A kind offer for shared delivery….

We received a very kind offer from David at Maud’s Icecream, based in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim to assist in any producers making deliveries fto Dingle for judging as follows;Contact: David Wilson david@mauds.com
“I can make any necessary arrangements directly with them regarding receipt of their samples and transport to Dingle. Not a problem.  In some cases, we may even be able to arrange collection as our vans cover pretty much all of Northern Ireland.
Naturally, producers are very protective of their samples and don’t want to risk temperature problems during transport or rough handling so the following might help allay any fears.
Temperature Control:
Be assured, we have no issue with temperature control – our own ice cream is more difficult to transport than most other products simply because you can’t refreeze it if it melts. Our vans are all under 2 years old with refrigeration equipment capable of maintaining -24′c even during multi-drop deliveries on the hottest summer days. Same goes for the ambient/chilled compartments. All vans have trackers and temperature monitors that constantly report back to base.
We have acted as a collection point and transporter of the Irish (both north & south) ice cream samples for the Ice Cream Alliance’s annual competitions held in England for over 25 years. These entries included pots of ice cream but also elaborate and fragile artistic entries needing especially delicate handling and no rally driving.
How it works:
When the producer drops off their entries we will provide them with a receipt showing the number of entries they drop off, the date & time, signed by the person leaving the samples and signed by ourselves. We also show the producer exactly where in our freezer/chiller/ambient stores their entries will be stored and discuss any special requirements.
We scan the paperwork and email it straight to yourselves at the Irish Food Awards so you know in real-time what is being received here in Carrickfergus. We place a control sample of ice cream in the freezer and transport that along with any frozen entries to Dingle. The control sample of ice cream can then be inspected during delivery in Dingle and is a clear indicator of transport conditions during the journey. Like I said, our ice cream doesn’t refreeze well so the quality of this sample verifies the journey conditions. Van’s are of course logging temperature too.”

Blas at Gifted, Christmas Fair

We are delighted to let you know that Blas na hEireann will be back at Gifted, (The National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS)

We will have a dedicated space for Blas na hEireann finalists and winners. The show is the largest indoor retail event in the country with over 40,000 unique visitors. The show runs for 5 days from the 5th – 9th December. http://www.giftedfair.ie/

Blas na hEireann will be creating a dedicated, central space within the show and there are a limited number of spaces for past finalists and winners to book as follows;

Stands will be located within a central Blas na hEireann Stand Gifted
Producers will have 1m wide counter per exhibitor (individual branding on counter)
Central storage area

Cost: €900 plus vat per stand

How to book:
Please contact Fallon in the Blas office to register your interest by email to info@irishfoodawards.com or indeed for any questions that you have and we will be happy to help.

Once registered the Blas team will connect you directly with the office at Gifted to arrange payment.


-All Blas winners and finalists who have not exhibited at the Fair in the past 3 years (ie 2015, 2016 & 2017)
-Alcoholic products can only be sampled but not sold at the Fair.
-Producers are not permitted to sell hot food or drinks, or any single servings of food to be consumed on the premises.


6 Thing’s I’ve Learned… a few words from Artie

Artie Clifford - Cropped (1)A little while back Artie was invited to contribute to Cara magazine’s column, 6 Things I’ve learned. The advice he shared is very much how Blas na hEireann runs day to day and we thought we would share it with you here…

1 Sharing is caring
I left school on Friday and joined the crew of a fishing trawler the following Sunday evening as a share fisherman. Sharing wasn’t so much about the money but about working as a team and sharing the workload, if you didn’t do your share then it increased the workload on the rest of the crew. Doing more than your fair share is like saving for the future, so when a time comes and you are overwhelmed by the challenge you face your colleagues are more than willing to ease your burden.

2 R-E-S-P-E-C-T
When you are young you learn self-respect by giving respect to others you gain respect. Although you may not agree with others decisions you should always respect them.

3 Lead from the back
Never ask colleagues to undertake a task that you wouldn’t do yourself, when faced with a pile of sh*te be the first to grab a shovel.

4 Maintain your ethos
When Blas was founded it was with 3 goals in mind. Firstly, to recognise the very best of Irish food and drink and reward the producers that made it, Secondly, to create a network of Irish producers who could work together for the common good and lastly, to help the consumers at home and abroad to find the very best of Irish food and drink. When a decision is made at Blas we go back to these 3 goals and make sure that the outcome is in line with them. At Blas we continue to grow, engaging in more and more events, from public showcases to networking and panel discussion events like the Backyard. With each new step we continually check against our 3 objectives, it helps to keep us on track.

5 Lend an ear
Listening to what others have to say is how we learn, by listening you will hear ideas and opinions you may not have considered and be better able decide how to move forward. Listening is hearing a message and should not be confused with receiving an order. So listen, consider and then decide.

6 Family
Lastly but by all means the most important is family, never make a decision until you have considered the impact on the family, yours, your colleagues and the people you deal with on a daily basis. If you make a decision that may have an adverse effect on family then you can be sure it’s the wrong one. In times of great difficulty the first ones we reach out to are our families and because we treat them with consideration, care and respect they will always be the first to offer their support.


Breakfast with Blas at the Burren Slow Food Festival

Burren Breakfast with BlasThe 14thBurren Slow Food Festival takes place this weekend from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 May in The Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare. We are delighted that on Sunday 13 May from 10am – 11am the organisers are hosting “Breakfast with Blas”.  

This event is an opportunity for Burren Slow Food Festival stallholders and visiting food and drink producers to network with one another whilst enjoying tastings of products from the Burren including a selection that have been awarded the Blas accolade.

In addition it will incorporate a 20 minute Backyard at Blas panel discussion.  “Be Pitch Perfect” will focus on how to capitalise on sales and marketing opportunities in a market environment.  It will be chaired by Birgitta Hedin Curtin from the Burren Smokehouse whose product portfolio boasts several awards.

This is a FREE event and if you would like to attend, please email your details to breakfastwithblas@gmail.com
We hope to see you there.

For more information about the Burren Slow Food programme of events, visits www.slowfoodclare.com

The Backyard goes on the Road!

New_dingle food friday025As a result of a hugely successful event during the 2017 awards and in response to demand from producers, the Blas na hEireann team is delighted to announce that it is taking the Backyard at Blas on the road.  Backyard at Blas is an innovative space for individuals in the food and drink industry to meet fellow producers, gain knowledge and find support for your business.  Its objective to help producers grow and develop on a personal and professional level by hearing about the experiences of others, is complimented by an interactive platform that allows for networking.

Set in a relaxed, informal venue, hot topics are covered with industry leaders and experts in a number of engaging conversation panels followed by Q&As.  Throughout the day, attendees have the opportunity to grab a coffee and chat with key people and fellow producers. Lunch is also served.

Images from the 2017 Backyard at Blas

Images from the 2017 Backyard at Blas

The Backyard at Blas is on the road and coming to
The Seamus Ennis Centre in The Naul, Co Dublin  26th June
Press-ing Needs – how to get media coverage with a minimum budget and a little effort
Expanding on a hugely successful panel at the inaugural Backyard this event will focus on getting your story straight. If you can’t get your story across, you can’t sell your product. You need to be able to catch a journalist’s attention and know what they are looking for. It is devilishly difficult to get coverage these days but knowing what the media looks for is half the battle. So, too, is responding quickly to their requests and not badgering people. There is a world of difference between being dogged and being pushy.

Airfield Estate, Dublin 27th June 
Distribution & Logistics – how to get your foot in the door at home & abroad
This event will look at the challenges involved, from initial meetings with buyers (including how best to prepare and to understand your category) through to the logistical challenges of expanding your delivery network.

Full details are yet to be announced. As the events will have very limited places you can register your interest now, you will be offered first option to book the tickets as they go on sale

Register your interest to attend by sending your name and email through the online contact form 


What a BLASt – Radio Documentary

“What a BLASt – 10 years of the Irish Food Awards” produced by Sharon Noonan and Kieran Hurley was aired on UCC 98.3FM on Friday 16 March at 6.00pm on the eve of the opening for entries of the 2018 Blas na hEireann, The Irish Food Awards.

The first ever Blas na hEireann / Irish Food Awards were staged in Dingle, Co Kerry in 2008 as part of the Dingle Food Festival. The 45 minute documentary, which is funded by the BAI, meets Artie Clifford, who conceived the awards and explores how they have grown from a handful of categories and entries in the inaugural year to almost 2500 entries in their 10th year.

The judging process, which was developed in collaboration with UCC, is explained in detail by UCC’s Professor Joe Kerry. Other contributors include award winning chef, Neven Maguire and Ireland’s most respected food writers, John and Sally McKenna. Tribute is paid to the late Shane McArdle for his significant contribution to the food and drink industry in Ireland and beyond

Listen now https://soundcloud.com/ucc98-3fm/blas

Exciting update for Gifted at the RDS

Update Monday 20th November
We have been contacted by a number producers who are interested in sharing space, significantly reducing the cost for individual participants.
This would be on one large shared stand with 1m counter top space for each producer.  If you are interested in sharing please contact Fallon on 087 9029329 or email info@irishfoodawards.com

Blas na hEireann have an exciting opportunity for our past finalists & winners. GIFTED (The National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS) will have a dedicated space for Blas na hEireann finalists and winners. The show is the largest indoor retail event in the country with over 40,000 unique visitors. The show runs for 6 days from the 5th -10th December.

If you would like to book a stand you can contact Karen Cooney on 01 6702186 or email karen@nationalcraftsfair.ie

If you would like to find out more about a shared producer space contact Fallon on 087 9029329



An invitation from Bank of Ireland….

The Back YardBlas na hÉireann Finalist 2017 BOI Food Series Night Invitation
Tuesday November 28th 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Bank of Ireland was delighted to proudly partner with Blas na hEireann to create “Backyard at Blas” at the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards. “Backyard at Blas” was a new innovative breakout space and networking venue at the Awards. We saw many Irish producers visit the space, negotiate and complete deals. Many also said that they took away valuable lessons from the eight workshops over the two days. These workshops featured panels with industry leaders and experts. The food producers that attended mentioned that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet so many key people at one event and in one room if it wasn’t for this space, which was great feedback to receive.

Our partnership with Blas has grown from “The Bank of Ireland Food Series “which originally was launched back in March in Limerick’s Bank of Ireland Workbench. The series is designed to help Educate, Promote and Celebrate all that is great about local Irish Food & Irish Produce. Each night held a different theme and had Key Speakers of Industry leaders from these sectors. Please search on Twitter #BOIFoodseries for a flavour of some of our nights so far.

Bank of Ireland is excited to expand our BOI Food Series across two more locations in our Cork & Galway Workbenches and are delighted to Invite you as a Blas Finalist to our next Bank of Ireland Food Series night where we again will partner with Blas to launch the “Blas Buyers Directory 2017″ a guide to winners & finalists of Blas 2017We will have a member of the Blas Family present on the night to help launch the directory along with key panel guests, the night will be a great chance to network with fellow producers and also promote your own produce.

Limited  opportunities for some of the finalists & winners to showcase their produce on the night but due to space this will be on a first come basis, so please express your interest along with your RSVP if you have been successful in receiving an award from Blas at the 2017 awards.

This is a FREE event to attend and open to all producers.

Please RSVP to attend the Limerick event which is located at Bank of Ireland 125 O’Connell Street Limerick by close of business on Thursday 23rd of November to both MariaA.walsh@boi.com & JohnA.Doyle@boi.com

Please RSVP to attend the Cork event which is located at Bank of Ireland St Patricks Street Cork by close of business on Thursday 23rd of November to Lia.Boyland@boi.com

Please RSVP to attend the Galway event which is located at Bank of Ireland Mainguard Street Galway by close of business on Thursday 23rd of November to both GrahamA.Clarke@boi.com & annie.claffey@boi.com

We look forward to welcoming you on the night and please support this event on social media by using both hashtags #Blas2017 & #BOIFoodseries.

Backyard Collage 1