Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin won an Irish Drink Award at the 24th Irish Guild of Foodwriters Awards this week in a ceremony held in Patrick Guilbaud’s restaurant in Dublin’s Merrion Hotel where a lunch devised and prepared by chef and co-owner Guillaume Lebrun incorporated the products of each winner into a celebratory menu..
The craft gin is produced by Justin Green of Ballyvolane House together with his hold school friend and business partner Antony Jackson.
Where most Irish gins use imported grain-based alcohol, Bertha’s Revenge is distilled with whey alcohol sourced from the local Carbery dairy plant and derived from cow’s milk produced by County Cork dairy farmers.
Using specially-developed yeasts to ferment the milk sugars in the whey, Carbery first brews and then double distils the whey in large column stills. Justin and Antony then distill the 96% proof whey alcohol a third time in their custom-made 125 litre copper stills along with their chosen botanicals including coriander, bitter orange, cardamom, cumin and clove as well as foraged local botanicals such as alexanders, elderflower and sweet woodruff.
The resulting aromatic and warmly spiced gin has won local and international acclaim since its launch in 2015. Bertha’s Revenge is now exported to the UK, mainland Europe and even South Korea – and, later this year, it will go to the US.
The pair joined five other Award-winners at the IFWG ceremony, held in Patrick Guilbaud’s.
In addition, the late Oliver Hughes received the Guild’s first posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in pioneering craft back into beer and spirits via The Porterhouse Group and the Dingle Distillery. The award was accepted by Oliver’s son Elliot and daughter Holly at the ceremony.
The six award winners were: The Friendly Farmer for his pasture-reared chickens, Ummera Irish Smokehouse for Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breast and Cuinneog for Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Natural Buttermilk. Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm was presented with a Special Contribution to Irish Food Award and the 2017 IFWG Environmental Award went to The Little Milk Company for its innovative approach to fostering sustainable family farms.
Irish Food Writers’ Guild Chair Aoife Carrigy said, “This year’s award winners are representative of so much that is great about the food and drink industry in Ireland. Our winners have created sustainable family businesses, continued and built upon the work of their forefathers or collaborated with like-minded people to create products of an exceptional standard.”
The awards recognise those Irish producers and products that are integral to Ireland’s fine reputation in food and drink both at home and abroad.
The IFWG Food Awards were one of the first of its kind in the country and remain unique. No one can enter themselves or their product into the awards.