Winning at the Blas Awards has made significant business differences to our winners. They are our best ambassadors.
Brian Brennan, An Sean Teach Ltd
For An Sean-Teach Ltd, a small company making small batch premium Irish gin and cream liqueur, getting a reply saying short listed was the beginning of a very interesting chapter in our book. It led to walking out with 4 awards, a badge on a bottle and a huge smile on the face! . Small may be beautiful but it also may be amazingly difficult. Any endorsements that can be had , must be bagged and let the promoters get a well earned pat on the back for the job well done. Blas na hEireann allowed us the opportunity to get into the spotlight for buyer’s to pick out. Quality is a given at short list stage, product and packaging must carry you across the line. The Blas na hEireann badge is an endorsement of the work done, not easily got,but a big deal when you have it !
Isolde Johnson, Cool Beans
Winning at Blas na hEireann was a massive milestone for us and Cool Beans. We had won numerous business awards but winning a food award was such a great validation for the quality of the product we are producing. We have seen our sales increase across the Cool Beans range and particularly for the Chilli flavour. We tell anyone who will listen about the competition, the win and the whole weekend in Dingle which will stay in the memories for a long time
Orlaigh & Barry Meere, Meeres Puddings
Our square black and white pudding are unique in there own right. We had done a lot of work with the packaging and design of the label and decided to enter them into our first ever Blas na hEirann competition in 2015. To get both our entries into the final was amazing and to get a silver for our black pudding square was truly delightful. A recognition that is traveling fast around Ireland. With more restaurants and hotels using our award winning puddings
Pat O’Sullivan, Masterchefs
We are thrilled to have been awarded 4 Gold & 1 Silver Awards at Blas 2015, it independently endorses the quality of our Chefs & Bakers product range as being some of the best on the market. Winning lifts the team & validates our existing customers for choosing our range
Kevin Hickey, Tamnagh Foods
We consider the Irish Food Awards/Blas na Eireann to be the most important independent acknowledgment of food quality an artisan producer can be awarded on the island of Ireland. Tamnagh Foods have been awarded Gold for their Maple Nut Granola and Sperrin Blue cheese in the past two years and we have used as a springboard to further grow our business
Siobhan Lawless, The Foods of Athenry
A lot has changed for us since 2008, the inaugural year of Blas na hEireann when, as a very young company we came away with 1 Gold and 2 Silver awards. Without doubt, you cannot underestimate the value of the Blas October weekend in Dingle – the motivation, the inspiration, being measured against your peers, winning/losing, networking, becoming less ‘invisible’ in an ocean of other products. 2008 was our first. 7 years & 16 awards later, we now employ 18 people, sell nationwide at home and export to other countries. If we had not stepped up in 2008 and in the years that followed – would we be where we are now? I genuinely believe not. We are forever in Dingles debt.
Laura Sinnott, Wexford Preserves
Winner of Best in Wexford & Bronze Winner 2015
Winning the Blas Na hÉireann Best in County Award has meant a lot to myself and Tom, it means recognition for all of our hard work over the years for ourselves and all the team at Wexford Home Preserves. We know that when our customers see the Blas Na hEireann Best in County badge on our preserves they associate this with Irish, quality and artisan. We feel very proud to have the Blas Na hÉireann logo on our products.
Aidan Murphy, Galway Craft Beers Ltd
Winner of Best in Galway & Gold & Silver Winners 2015
Winning at Blas na hEireann, the biggest and most prestigious blind tasting & awards in the country, has been very important to our business as it demonstrates to potential customers that our products are of a certain standard. We constantly use it in our marketing material when telling our story. Winning the Best in County Award in 2015 has also been fantastic for us as it firmly puts us on the food map in Galway.
Olivia Curran, An Olivia Chocolate
Winner of Best in Farmers’s Market Westmeath 2015
A Blas na hEireann Award is a fantastic achievement for any business lucky enough to receive, it will open doors and bring a whole new batch of foodie lovers straight to your door to feast on your product. It endorses your product and places it in the highest point possible within the retail market. You cannot put a price on this award as year on year the foodie lover and retailers will hunt for the best products and producers in the country by the roll of Honours be-stode by Blas na hEireann. After winning Supreme Champion 2013 and Best in Farmers market 2015 my customers come looking for me and beat a path to my stand where ever I am . They keep coming back to see what new products are coming on stream and love to support local artisan producers.
Bernie & Graham Canning, Blast & Wilde
Supreme Champions 2014 www.blastandwilde.com
“Winning Blas validates the hard work and effort we put into making our product unique. It has helped boost our sales and given us a solid platform on which to grow our business further”
Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese
Winner – Best Artisan 2014 www.st-tola.ie
“Winning the Best Artisan producer award at Blas na hEireann has not only rubber stamped the quality of our products but has opened new doors for us both at home and abroad.It has definitely helped increased our sales and brand recognition.We are delighted to be associated with the well recognised Blas na hEireann brand.”
Catherine Buggy, Boutique Bake
2014 – “We were absolutely delighted to win a Gold award for our Lemon Drizzle Cake Mix at the 2014 awards.
The gold sticker on each pack really is a huge mark of quality and as a new brand has really helped to assure customers our taste and finished product will not disappoint!”
2013 – “Winning two Gold awards in 2013 for our Brownie Mix and Brown Bread Mix was a major stepping stone for our 5-month old business. It not only confirmed the great taste of our new products, but we met key retailers at the awards who we are still doing business with today and hope to for years to come!”
Gerard McCarthy, Larkin’s Bakery
“Having won 7 (3 of those gold medals) Blás na hEireann awards since 2012 has provided a fantastic boost to our family run bakery, which has been extremely welcome considering the very difficult business environment over the last number of years – particularly for companies based in and dependent on rural Ireland.
Today’s supermarket shelves are very crowded with so many products making many marketing claims. In our experience the Blás na hEireann badge stands out to customers and helps to clearly differentiate our products, since winning the awards we have seen a definite increase in sales and it has opened a number of doors that had previously been locked shut! I believe customers realise that it is a true mark of quality that guarantees that the winning products have come out on top of an intense national competition, which verify an exclusive seal of approval based upon great taste and quality and not baseless marketing speak.
On a personal level, it has been very satisfying to receive recognition for our products, for me it validates our commitment and passion for developing unique quality products, such as our cranberry and fruit soda bread and our wholemeal fruit and multiseed loaf. And also our commitment to using only top quality ingredients, baking in small batch sizes and aiming to preserve the traditional craft of baking”
Brian & Bernie Campbell, Just Baked
Winners of AIB Diversification Award 2014 www.justbakedshop.ie
“We relied on our passion and the experience gained in our wholesale business to move
into the retail market with the opening of our bakery shop, initially in Castlebar and
subsequently in Westport in 2014. It is an honour to have received the Blas na hEireann
award and to be recognised for our innovation. This recognition validates our endeavours
and also our customers belief in our quality produce.”
Dermot Hanley, Nusli
Best New Product 2014 (Apple & Blackberry) www.nusli.com
“The Blas na hEireann awards are a huge opportunity for a small, ambitious company like Nüsli. Even just to be a finalist is a huge injection of credibility that otherwise would take years to achieve. Perhaps even more importantly just looking at the quality of all the food companies in the final is making us think about next year and how we can be better. To win best new product as a brand new company, without any previous experience in the food sector, was incredible and we hope to use it to encourage people to try Nüsli for the first time – you couldn’t buy that opportunity!”
Michelle Ni Shuilleabhain, Bluirini Blasta Teo
Winner of 6 Awards in 2013 including Rogha na Gaeltachta – www.bluiriniblasta.ie
When we first entered Blas our company was in its infancy and we thought it would be a great moral boost to win, little did we know the impact that winning would would have on our business. In 2013 we were delighted to win SIX awards and saw our immediate sales increase by 30%. On the back of the awards we have also been able to approach the larger multiples as well as being approached directly and will soon be stocking in larger stores throughout Ireland. I can definitely see how Blas is helping our business as now, both buyers and consumers recognize a Blas winner as a quality producer. I also can’t say enough about the Blas team and the support that they have given our company. They work year round in pushing all Blas winning products and offer advice whenever possible. I can only see the Blas na hEireann getting bigger and can only hope that we grow with them”
As a first time entrant into the awards I was stunned and delighted to be given a gold award for our beetroot chutney. It has helped sell more of the product and has given me loads to talk about when meeting customers in the market. It also certainly helps when asking retailers to stock our products. Lastly but not least it has given us the confidence to expand our range. The actual day down in dingle was great, a fantastic buzz around the town, and what a range of products to see, and taste, I will for sure be entering some of our stuff this year, fingers crossed.
“When Niks Tea won Gold & Bronze at Blas na hEireann in September 2013 business just took off. Retailers definitely notice you have a seriously good product & consumers are really influenced by the endorsement of awards. As a small company with minimal marketing & advertising budgets, achieving Blas na hEireann standards gets media attention too. Niks Teas were featured in several National & Local newspapers & publications since winning. It can’t be a complete coincidence!“
John Paul O’Connor, Sasta Sausages
One of the Best in Farmer’s Market 2012
Since winning the 3 awards in 2012 it has helped our Business no end it has opened up a whole new world to us. Not only have we gotten enquiries from all over Ireland but from all over Europe and further afield. We are looking forward to a very promising future
Iseult Jannsens, The Cake Stand
Gold in Confectionary – Chocolate Macaron
To be honest with you I don’t know if The Cake Stand would be celebrating its Fourth Birthday if it weren’t for the awards. It’s one thing knowing that you have an outstanding product, but it’s another thing entirely spreading that word.
I am certain that the Blas na hEireann awards has introduced my macarons and treats to foodies far and wide. It’s those beautiful gold and silver stickers that adorn my macaron boxes that tell people they are buying an award-winning Irish product. And it’s those stickers and awards that keep me going knowing that I have a great product. I love going to Dingle every year and meeting with friends and fellow entrepreneurs, brain storming and catching up on our years progress.
Helen Cahill, Cahill’s Farm Cheese
Gold & Bronze in Cheddar Cheese 2012 – Ballintubber Cheddar with Garlic & Herbs, Bullintubber Cheddar with Chives
Winning both Gold and Bronze medals, in the cheddar category, at Blas na hEireann last year has certainly stood to us. The Blas na hEireann awards are very well regarded both in Ireland and abroad. The cheese category, in particular, has stiff competition, Ireland is brimming with fantastic cheeses.
We were delighted to receive two awards. They were a great selling point and certainly had a role to play in our recent listing at the Harrods Fromagerie. When retail buyers and chefs consider Irish cheeses they have an amazing range to choose from. An award will speak louder than a sales person ever can. It’s independent verification that you are doing something right!
We are greatly looking forward to the Blas na hEireann awards 2013. The awards are growing from strength to strength and we were delighted to take part last year.
Guanael Trahan, Breizon Teo
Gold & Silver in Seafood 2012 – Window to the Sea Cooked & Peeled Prawn Tails, Window to the Sea Whole Cooked Prawns
Rogha na Gaeltachta – Atlantis seafood Surf N Turf-Smoked Scallops and Black Pudding
It meant so much to win gold and silver that we will be entering the 2013 one with new products. When talking to the buyers of the major food stores we noticed we had their full attention to our selling points when the Blas na hEireann was mentioned.
Bryan Lynch, MD – Bryan Lynch Salads
Silver in Sauces & Dips 2012 – Sweet Chill Mayo
We had a fantastic year since achieving Silver at Blas na hEireann for our Sweet Chilli Mayo. We have got listed to two top multiples nationwide for our full range of flavoured mayos. The brand recognition that we achieved was amazing because our product carried the Blas na hEireann Logo. Customers are aware of the standard of quality products and this helped our range to achievable heights that we didn’t envisage. Here at Bryan Lynch Finest Salads we take great pride in associating our product with Blas na hEireann and look forward to achieving more success with these fantastic awards.
2013 so far has been incredible for us and we are only four months into the year. The old saying “Cream Always Rises To The Top” is the case with our product carrying the Blas na hEireann logo.
Harry & Ann Perry, Skellig Pantry
Silver in the Terrines & Pates 2012 – Chicken Liver Pate and one of the Best in Farmer’s Market Winners
As we were less than a year in business at the time, winning two awards at Blas na hEireann was unexpected and an exciting achievement for us. The immediate effect was a 30% increase in our sales at Tralee Farmer’s Market and we now have a constant group of regular loyal customers.
It also gave us the confidence to increase our product range and we now produce a Smoked Salmon & Champagne Pâté and a Smoked Mackerel Pâté and our newest product is our Traditional Meat Loaf which is proving to be another popular choice.
Winning the awards and the resulting exposure brought enquiries and invitations from Food Festivals and Fairs countrywide. The one that comes to mind is ‘Taste Dublin’.
However as we are young in the food business we decided “not to run before we could walk” but to take time to progress. Prior to winning our awards in Dingle we looked on Skellig Pantry as a “HOBBY” but now it has become a business in the real sense of the word and our plan is that before the end of the 2013 season, Skellig Pantry will be firmly marked on the Food Producers Map.
This year as well as our regular Markets, we look forward to attending Festivals such as Macroom, Mallow, Kenmare, Listowel and Dingle and other food events that present.
Another big plus was the media attention we received, most notably a feature in the Irish Examiner.
Because of these experiences we have encouraged other food producers to take part in these awards as we believe that they play a major role in the Food Strategy Nationwide.
Nicola Smyth – Big Red Kitchen
Gold in Sauces & Dips 2012 – Raspberry Dessert Sauce
Gold in Honey & Other Spreads 2012 – Lemon Curd
“Winning an award at Blas na hEireann gives a tremendous boost to any producer, particularly small producers. It is a massive vote of confidence from your peers and the experts within the food industry. Winning two Gold awards and Best Artisan Producer, not only changed how our customers and the industry viewed Big Red Kitchen, but it changed how I viewed it as well.”
Una Martin, Una’s Pies – April 2013
“Since winning the awards Unas Pies has gone from strength to strength. For the past 6 months I have been working on product development for a launch into the retail sector. This has been a challenging time for Unas Pies, as quality is paramount. Maintaining the highest of standards and increasing production levels are always challenging.
The Blas na hEireann awards are highly sought after in the food industry and this has meant that I have made very valuable contacts with potential buyers. Without the awards these contacts would have been harder to make. The Blas na hEireann awards have opened the doors that will lead Unas Pies to the next stage in its journey. Blas na hEireann and the title of Supreme Champion 2012 have made it possible for a small producer like myself to think big. Promoting high quality Irish food with the backing and recognition for all at Blas is an honour and drives Unas Pies even further to maintain and constantly improve standards.
Through continued support from Joe Burke and his team at South Cork Enterprise Board, Noel O Driscoll and his team in Cork County Councils Economic development Authority, Bord Bia, the Blas na hEireann team and my mentors such as Conor Hyde from Bullseye Food Marketing Una’s Pies is set for big things in 2013.”
The Just Food Company
Winning at Blas na hEireann has been of enormous benefit to us. The following points highlight this:
We won two medals in the soup category for two years in a row – the cumulative effect has contributed to these soups now being our best sellers.
We have been accepted into several SV stores, in part due to our award winning range.
This year we have sought and achieved local listings with Dunnes, SQ and Tesco: winning the Blas na hEireann awards was a core part of our presentations to each client, and I have no doubt these awards helped us secure all of the listings.
I personally do in store tastings on a very regular basis and new customers more often than not tend to choose the product varieties that have award stickers displayed – the stickers are definitely positively received.
Jack Mc Carthys
In 2009 The McCarthys were thrilled to be the highest placed Black Pudding entrant in the Blas na Eireann Awards. They have received international awards for their black pudding, but there is something special about receiving an award on your own turf, especially in ireland where the standard of competition in black pudding is so high.
After stickering the product a couple of months after gaining the award we saw substantial double digit growth of the award winning products.
We therefore advertised the products more to show we had received this award which leads to more people coming into the stores.
An overall positive effect has been gained by receiving this award.”
Foods of Athenry
In the inaugural year of the Blas na hEireann awards 2008 , The Foods of Athenry came away with 3 awards . In 2009 – 4 .
Because of the high level of interest nationally in the Irish Food Awards, featuring well has brought us to the attention of customers and opened some doors , where potentially we may have had to have knocked for considerably longer !
Winning the awards has given us the confidence to go further afield with the products as it is fantastic to have independent affirmation of what we already felt to be true – that we had great tasting products . !
We are delighted to have won 2 GOLD medals at the 2009 awards. It has enabled us to promote the 2 products within our range as award winning, both on pack and on shelf. As a staff development tool, it has been a great motivator for our NPD chefs, to excite them and encourage them to develop new tastes and dishes which will go on to hopefully winning more awards in the future!
The Apple Farm
The award had a great psychological effect, because as it was a new product launch, we felt vindicated in the amount of development work that we had done to get the product market-ready. When going out with our new juice, the fact that it had just won an award was also a great help in accessing new customers.