Barber Daly a Cork tea blending company has been awarded the prestigious title of Supreme Champion at the Blas na hÉireann National Irish Food and Drink Awards.

This, the fourth year of the awards has proved an outstanding success.

There were 1,300 entries, which was twice as many as last year.

Barber Daly was set up in 1975 in Cork City by Brendan Daly and Bob Barber. In 1994 the company moved to a purpose built factory in Forge Hill in Cork.

Their winning award is for their Reserve Fairtrade tea they sell to SuperValu.

Well known food hero Peter Ward announced the awards in Benners Hotel in Dingle on Saturday evening. Gold, silver and bronze awards were presented to winners in 30 categories.

Bursaries up to the value of €20,000 were presented to the top winners.

The Business Diversification Award, sponsored by AIB, went to The Limerick Strand Hotel for ‘The Secret Ingredient Range of Products’.

Susan Steel Development and Innovations Officer with BIM presented the Seafood Innovation Award to Cork company Keohanes for their Microwaveable Salmon with Butter.

“This is a great evening to celebrate food and Irishness. An event like this shows how we are changing the way we look at fish.

“Over 86 per cent of the fish caught in Irish waters leaves this country in lorries with no added value to it. That needs to be changed,” she pointed out.

The Cloudberry Bakery in Keel Castlemaine Kerry won the Best New Emerging Food Producer from Kerry. The award was presented by Thomas Hayes on behalf of Kerry Enterprise.

“Food is vital to Kerry and an event such as this is the jewel in the crown. But there is need for changes to be made in regulation. There is need to ease regulation in such a way that it is not so difficult for people entering the market,” Mr Hayes said.

O’Connors Bakery from Ennis in Co Clare won the New Best Product Award sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. They won the award for their Christmas mince meat. Gareth Dee from Enterprise Ireland pointed out that Ireland’s food industry is exporting €10 billion worth of produce this year.

The Rogha na Gaeltachta award, sponsored by Udarás, was presented by local man Seamus Cosai MacGearailt to Kerry’s Blurini Blasta Beo based in Lispole.

And the Best Artisan Producer Award was won by Cork company, Una’s Pies, which was sponsored by Bord Bia

Arte Clifford, Chairman of Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards said, “Every quality food producer is a winner. The event is going from strength to strength every year and this year has proved a phenomenal success. To see joint gold prizes being shared between large and small companies is a real proof of how the smallest of producers can flourish in the food business”.

 All of the category winners will be on the website - - very shortly and here is a link to the picture gallery.