Whey alcohol produced from West Cork milk is the key ingredient of Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin, one of this week’s Irish Food Writers’ Guild awards winners.

The Irish Drink category winning craft gin is produced by Justin Green of Ballyvolane House, Castlelyons, Co Cork, a former dairy farm turned award-winning country house hotel.

Most Irish gins use imported grain-based alcohol, but Bertha’s Revenge is distilled with alcohol produced from milk at the Carbery plant in Balineen, Co Cork.

Using specially developed yeasts to ferment the milk sugars in the whey, Carbery brew and then double distill the whey in large column stills. 

Justin, and his business partner, Antony Jackson, then distill the 96% proof whey alcohol a third time in their custom-made 125-litre copper stills, along with their chosen botanicals flavourings.

Bertha’s Revenge is exported to the UK, mainland Europe, the US, and even South Korea.

The Little Milk Company based in Co Waterford won the Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) environmental category award.

This cheese co-op use 70% of the milk from 10 organic family farms, and its expansion plans include recruiting more dairy farmers to convert to organic production.

Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer, Co Galway, is a 2017 IFWG food category award winner.

Another food category award winner is the Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breast produced by Anthony Creswell’s Ummera Irish Smokehouse at Timoleague, Co Cork.

The duck is sourced from a previous Guild award-winner, Silver Hill Farm in Co Monaghan. 

Breda Butler runs the Cuinneog family business at Castlebar, Co Mayo, and their Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Natural Buttermilk is one of this week’s winning foods.

Cuinneog means churn, and the company uses a traditional four-day production process for the fermented lactic butter and its buttermilk by-product.

Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Co Kilkenny, won an award this week for her notable contribution to Irish food.

Since 1993, the IFWG Food Awards have celebrated food producers and organisations.

The family of Oliver Hughes, the pioneering co-founder of The Porterhouse and Dingle Distillery, accepted his posthumous award this week.


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