A Co. Wexford barley grower took home the overall award for excellence at the Malting Barley Excellence Awards 2015.

Gerald Kelly won the top prize at this ceremony organised by Boortmalt and hosted by Diageo in the Guinness Storehouse on Wednesday (November 25).

According to Diageo, these awards acknowledge excellence in malting barley production and promote sustainability in the supply chain.

Speaking at the award ceremony the Co. Wexford farmer said he was delighted to be presented with the Guinness Perpetual Cup for Malting Barley Excellence.

“I am delighted to be in the Guinness Storehouse today to win this Malting Excellence Award.

“As a third generation barley grower in Camcross I  take huge pride knowing that the product that we grow goes on to be  part of this great brewing tradition.”

The award was presented by Andrew Doyle, TD, who said that he was delighted to be presenting the award to highlight the contribution that farmers make to the drinks industry.

Ireland’s agricultural industry is often at the heart of some of our most well-known and respected exports, this is especially true when it comes to barley production.

“It is great to be at the Malting Excellence Awards today to recognise the crucial role that Irish farmers play in producing quality malt, enabling the production of premium product for export across the world.”

Also speaking at the event, Colin O’Brien, Operations Director at Diageo Ireland said that it was proud of the contribution it made to the rural economy in Ireland.

“The malted barley that we buy from Boortmalt amounts to more than twice the value of Ireland’s total barley exports and over 300 tonnes of it are used daily to make Guinness.

It is a fantastic time for quality beer products in Ireland and these awards acknowledge the excellence at our supply chain.

According to O’Brien, Diageo remains committed to the brewing industry and this is evident from the recent its recent investments.

“Last year, we opened our state of the art new brewery Brewhouse No.4 and this year we launched Open Gate Brewery at St James’s Gate, helping to ensure that Diageo and St. James’s Gate continues to be at the forefront of sustainable brewing, supporting Ireland’s agricultural sector.”