Cider maker wins £30k marketing prize

A Portadown cider producer has been crowned the winner of a competition offering one local food and drink producer £30,000 of marketing support and brand visibility at George Best Belfast City Airport.

Pat and Catherine McKeever raise a toast to their win
Pat and Catherine McKeever raise a toast to their win

Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider saw off the challenge from 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 highly regarded 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.

The tasting session was the final stage of the competition, which also involved a detailed application process and a two-week social media competition.

“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 to an international level.” said commercial manager Joanne Deighan.

Long Meadow founder Pat McKeever who runs the business with wife Catherine said: “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.”

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.

Mr Campion 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.”