It’s a case of raised glasses and loud cheers for the McKeever family from Portadown following the success of its Long Meadow Cider in the 2014 Great Taste Awards.
The McKeever’s Medium Craft Cider was given gold star status in the UK’s most important taste competition organised annually by the UK Guild of Fine Food.
Entering the competition for the first time, the company is amongst 99 Northern Ireland-based companies that have secured an all-time record of 264 awards in the food and drink competition.
Pat McKeever of Long Meadow Cider said, “We are absolutely delighted to have received a gold star for our Long Meadow Medium Cider in this year’s Great Taste Awards.
“With our range of ciders only introduced to the market at the end of last year we look upon this as a major achievement and recognition of the quality of our cider.
“As a family business we are very encouraged with the results that have been achieved in a very short space of time and we are looking to build further on that success in the coming months.”
The McKeever family has been involved with apple growing in County Armagh for more than 50 years and is now into the third generation. Peter McKeever initially grew apples that were used for processing and in the baking sector.
Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster said, “This is an outstanding set of results in what is regarded as the most significant and trend setting food and drink event in the British Isles and many parts of Europe.
“It demonstrates the quality, outstanding taste and creativity of producers, mostly smaller businesses and artisan enterprises here.”
This year’s competition included the first ever judging session to be held in Belfast. Overall 405 judges including leading retail buyers, chefs and food writers were involved in the seven-week judging process that involved 10,000 individual products from the UK and the Republic.