Laois farmer crowned Guinness ‘grower of the year’

Each year Boortmalt reward the growers of the best malting barley in Ireland. Edward Mulhall, from Laois, is the winner of the 2017 Irish Malting Barley Excellence Award.

The award ceremony was held today, November 30, at the Guinness Storehouse. The awards, which are organised by Boortmalt and hosted by Diageo, were originally set up in 1954 to acknowledge excellence in malting barley production and promote sustainability in the supply chain.

Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, was the guest speaker at the event.

He said: “The growth of the drinks sector is entirely dependent on a supply of high quality malting barley. In this respect, Irish cereal farmers have made a huge contribution to the success of the sector by producing the raw ingredients needed to develop the industry.

Today is an opportunity to acknowledge the technical know-how and dedication of our malting barley growers.

The minister presented Mulhall with his award, the Guinness Perpetual Cup for Malting Barley Excellence. Mulhall was looking forward to bringing the cup home to Laois.

I am looking forward to bringing the Guinness Perpetual Cup to Laois. It is a great honour to win this title, knowing the talented and skilled malting barley farmers who have held it since 1954.

“Our formula for quality malting barley starts with the sowing. I like to get sowing as early as possible, in a fine firm seedbed. I also use the Boortmalt recommended amount of nitrogen as early as possible, aiming for lower proteins and higher yields.”

Edward Mulhall and his son James from New Inn, Co. Laois after scooping first prize in the Malting Barley Excellence Awards 2017 at the Guinness Storehouse. Image source: Naoise Culhane

The regional winners were also announced:
  • Wexford and New Ross: Edward Harpur, Carrrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford;
  • Laois: Edward Mulhall, Emo, Portlaoise, Co. Laois;
  • Enniscorthy: Aidan Kavanagh, Ballydonfin, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford;
  • Carlow: John McDonald, Harristown, Co. Carlow;
  • Kildare: Jonathan and Nassau Greene, Maganey, Athy, Co. Kildare;
  • Seed Grower of the Year: John Donald, Fenagh, Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow.

Boortmalt is one of the largest malt producers in the world. Diageo is the largest purchaser of malting barley in Ireland, purchasing 130,000t of barley each year. Diageo uses 300t of barley each day to brew Guinness.

Peter Nallen, CEO, of Boortmalt, spoke on behalf of the malting company.

“We were delighted to announce, earlier this month, the expansion of our facility in Athy in Co. Kildare so that we can continue to provide our Irish brewing and distilling customers with a 100% Irish supply chain – from seed to malting barley.

“Today is an opportunity to come together to acknowledge the excellence in our supply chain and I would like to congratulate Edward Mulhall on his well-deserved win today.”

Aidan Crowe, operations director at Diageo’s St. James’s Gate Brewery, stated that the company is commited to Irish produce.

“Every year we purchase more than €275 million in goods and services from Irish companies because we can be assured that they are supplying an excellent, responsibly-grown product; sourced from within a sustainable supply chain that can meet our high specifications.”