Meet the Roasters – Saturday 20th September

EARLY DETAILS

Timing
Date: Saturday 20th September 2014
Time: 6pm (sharp’ish) for 2 hours or thereabouts.

Venue: Highbank Orchard – http://www.highbankorchards.com. You will also be able to sample and buy from the wonderful range of Highbank Ciders – Proper, Medieval and Drivers.

Map showing entrance to Highbank – https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zFi7I69FJBfk.kkTe3qWzL_98

Link to buy tickets (only €8 to join us)

Who?

Brock Lewin, Badger And Dodo

He’s Australian. And have been chatting to him on and off pretty much since he started. Himself and Karl in Coffee Angel were at the first Foodcamp we ran with Savour Kilkenny and it was my first experience of coffee geeks. Haven’t fully recovered.

Jennifer Ryan, Ponaire

I met Jennifer in Clonmel in 2009 and discovered that her beans were fresh and tasty. Shortly after she moved to Limerick and I kinda lost track of her. This will be a catch up for me :-)

Petesy Wiliams, 3FE

I know Pete’s 3FE founder (Colin Harmon) from Twitter and the odd coffee in 3FE. Pete is quieter so this will be my first time seeing and hearing him. Looking forward to that.

Diptic roasters 2

For anyone who knows about coffee the subtle mixture of art and science which brings about the perfect espresso or pour over is a thing of mystery. Each of our 3 roasters are masters of the roast.

There will be tastings……

Link to buy tickets (only €8 to join us)

Keith

Meet 2 Chocolatiers and 1 Chocolate Maker on 8th November

EARLY DETAILS

Timing
Date: Saturday 8th November 2014
Time: 6pm (sharp’ish) for 2 hours or thereabouts.

Venue: Highbank Orchard – http://www.highbankorchards.com. You will also be able to sample and buy from the wonderful range of Highbank Ciders – Proper, Medieval and Drivers.

Map showing entrance to Highbank – https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zFi7I69FJBfk.kkTe3qWzL_98

Link to buy tickets (only €8 to join us)

Who – and what?

There is a distinction at the making end of chocolate between making chocolate from scratch (from beans) and using couverture to make the finished product. We have (to my knowledge) only one chocolate maker in Ireland (Wilkies – Shana will be at a future event with us if I get my way :-).

Our 3 makers are:

Mary Teehan, Truffle Fairy

I’ve known Mary since she was experimenting with chocolates in her home kitchen and I had a personal interest in her expanding into a commercial setting because that capacity increase allowed her to introduce some vegan dark chocolate bars and truffles :-)

Mary truffles

Karen Keane, Bean and Goose

Karen is the co-founder of Bean and Goose together with her sister Natalie. They are based in Wexford and only kicked off last year (2013). It was their single origin bars that caught my eye – that and catchy branding.

 

Bean and Goose Chocolate

 

Alyssa Jade McDonald, Blyss Chocolate

Lyss is someone I have only “met” virtually. Known her for over 3 years and email, Twitter and Skype are how we have gotten to know each other. In one of those weird coincidences she works closely with someone who lives in Kilkenny! She is the first non-Irish based maker in the series and thats because she happens to be in Ireland in the week that this evening is on and her story is really interesting :-)

She is our Chocolate Maker and will share the story of bean to bar – from plantation to mouth.

blyss chocolate

and here are the 3 in person (together with a stray sister)

photo

Thats it – gonna be a great way to wind up the first year of Biabeag :-)

Tickets here for €8 – samples and a chance to buy more on the night.

Keith

 

 

Teagasc encourages glyphosate use – linked to Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers

I am not comfortable that a state agency here in Ireland actively encourages the use of Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. This was mailed out to their client base in the last month. 

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As reports by Reuters in April 2013 a peer-reviewed report expressed strong concerns on the health impact of this chemical

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In 2009 Scientific America published the results of findings showing that Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

From Wikipedia:  Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe. It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.[3] Monsanto brought it to market in the 1970s under the trade name “Roundup”, and Monsanto’s last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.

Keith

 

 

A perspective on Outstanding by Design from Dave Donohue

 

Dave is a Thomastown based writer working on his own craft beer product & when I saw that he was coming to the event I asked him to pen his thoughts on it. Here they are.

Keith

David Donohue – guest blog for Bia Beag

When I attended Bia Beag’s Outstanding by Design forum at Highbank Orchards in June, I did so as part of my research for a craft beer which I am currently developing.

Although aware that branding was essentially about communicating to the potential customer ‘what you are’ as a brand, I didn’t necessarily see the investment of money in the branding process as an essential part of launching a new small-producer product.

As somebody who works with a well-stocked little Kilkenny deli (Glasrai & Goodies), on the marketing and sourcing side, I come across a lot of small-producer food and drink products which have been launched without engagement with professional designer/consultants.

..all rely on simple packaging/labelling

 

Products like Sally Barnes’ Woodcock Smokery’s smoked fish, Goatsbridge’s trout (before its recent ‘branding’), Highbank Orchard’s Driver’s Cider, Orchard Syrup and ciders, Danette Milne’s pesto’s and sauces all rely on simple packaging/labelling.

When I see these products beside the ‘branded’ ones like Paddy O’s Granola, Mella’s Fudge, Mic’s chilli and Gubbeen cheese I don’t necessarily see the branded products jumping off the shelf in comparison.

Siobhan Lawlor, who owns Glasrai & Goodies, always says that the most simply packaged produce does best in her deli. In Siobhan’s opinion anything too fussy, loud, showy or glitzy puts the customer off buying artisan produce. ‘Truffle Fairy truffles come in a plain box with just a tiny sticker with the Truffle Fairy logo. There is no contents information, and yet we can’t keep them in stock.’

Before the Outstanding by Design forum I intended to design my own label for my craft beer, named after Ireland’s most famous philosopher, Berkeley, with the help of a brilliant local artist/illustrator. I was going to do something that looked good, stood out on the shelves and got the story across. If my product did okay in the market I would then look at ‘branding’ to take it to the next level.

…the length and intensity of the branding process

I was interested to me if the forum would sway me from my intended approach. The first thing that struck me as the forum progressed was the length and intensity of the branding process.

Sarah Maguire from Brand Union spent months delving into the branding possibilities afforded by Paddy O’ Connell’s love of the great outdoors, good looks and strong personal story, while the evolution of freelance designer, Steve Simpson’s label designs for Mic Wejchert’s, Mic’s Chilli, incorporating the bar code into his ‘day of the dead’ influenced cartoon-like illustrations, was an eye opener.

As well as being a window into Steve’s artistic approach, the conversation highlighted the lengthy step-by-step process that created a clearly-branded, quirky and memorable product, while fulfilling the producers exacting brief. Steve also brought to light how some freelance designers are willing to be flexible, price-wise, when working with new producers with whom they hope to develop a long term relationship.

…highlighted by the forum was its collaborative nature

 

Another aspect of the branding process which was highlighted by the forum was its collaborative nature. Mella Mc Auley, from Mella’s fudge and freelance designer, Liz Maybury seemed to delight in the process of working together, with Liz emphasizing how she faithfully incorporated Mella’s one stipulation, that gold foil be used for the lettering of the fudge bar packaging.

Erik Johansson, from The Green Man Studio and Paul O’ Connor of the Trouble Brewing, brewing company also gave a great insight into the to-and-fro between designer and client. In this case the brief was to re-brand a craft brewing company with a stipulation to be ‘rebellious yet not offensive.’ This re-branding has, according to Paul, been a huge factor in Trouble Brewing’s year-on-year growth of 50%.

Christina Moody from Value Added in Africa and Laura Macauley from Navigate by Design illustrated how inspired re-branding gave a small African Community-focused honey-making project a real shot at the International market.

Rachel Kerr from Creative Inc & Liz Skehan (mother of Donal) of Skoff pies talked about Liz and Donal’s newly launched product, and the design brief, which asked her to emphasise that Skoff Pies ‘stand for home cooked food with a funky personality.’ Rachel emphasised the importance of a good name in being identified, recognised and understood, and the role which colour plays in branding.

His advice to me was simple – have a clear idea of what your product is…

 

After lunch the attendees were given the opportunity to have a one-to-one discussion with a designer of their choice. I chose Eric Johanssen, who had created Trouble Brewing’s entertaining and eye-catching labels. His advice to me was simple – have a clear idea of what your product is, who the customer is, and why they might want to buy it, and to use this information to create a brand image that sets your product apart.

He liked my product idea and especially the products unique twist (I should be in marketing!). He also loved my choice of label illustrator because, Eric said, my designer is a guy with a very individual style, and a great love for craft beer. The Eric gave me his card and told me to call him as the project came closer to fruition.

The concluding talk of the day, following designer Lorenzo Tonti and Gubbeen’s Fingal Ferguson’s warm-hearted discussion about the Ferguson families long relationship with the designer, came from designer, Giles Calver.

Gile’s wrote the book ‘What Is Packaging Design?’ which organiser/host and the man behind Biabeag, Keith Bohanna, had earlier suggested was the product-design bible. Giles bullet-pointed the essentials of good branding, summarising the key points of the day in the process.

…good branding is not just an essential for product success, but a fascinating world in itself

 

Giles left me with a sense that good branding is not just an essential for product success, but a fascinating world in itself, a world which combines psychology and anthropology, while being ruled by with the basic tenet that humans like nice things in nice packages.

Almost two months on from the Outstanding by Design forum I continue with my product research. I see beer labels that have been through months of design consultancy at great cost and some which have been put together by the brewers teenage art-loving daughter on photo-shop, and I can’t always tell the difference.

…I’m still not convinced that I need to hire a professional designer

 

So, no, I’m still not convinced that I need to hire a professional designer to take my beer to the shelf, at least initially. Goatsbridge trout thrived and grew for years with their initial packaging, and Highbank Orchards, with a simple label designed by Julie Calder-Potts, can barely keep up with the demand for their Driver’s Cider.

I do know, however, that everything I learnt during the forum will inform my approach to designing the label for my unique beer product, and, if I’m not happy with the results, I just might give Eric Johanssen a call…

David Donohue David Donohue is an author/songwriter/horse racing journalist with a love of food and craft beer. David works as marketing consultant, Facebook manager, with Glasrai & Goodies and the Truffle Fairy Café and Chocolaterie. davyd@eircom.net

Full versions of the presentations given during Outstanding By Design

There are no excuses for being this late getting these up onto Slideshare, apologies.

Every presentation given during the day (with the exception of the one done by Brand Union on their work with Paddy O’Granola which they asked me not to share) is now up and included below. Links to the videos of the presentations where they have been put up by Ken McGuire are also included.

Sarah Maguire, Brand Union & Paddy O’Connell, Paddy O’Granola

 Laura Macaulay, Navigate By Design & Ka Tutandike

Erik Johansson, The Green Man Studio & Paul O Connor, Trouble Brewing

Liz Maybury & Mella McAuley, Mella Fudge

Steve Simpson & Mic Wejchert, Mic’s Chilli

Rachel Kerr, Creative Inc & Liz Skehan, Skoff

Lorenzo Tonti & Fingal Ferguson, Gubeen

Giles Calver, Thoughts On Food Packaging

Hope you enjoy those, as further videos are put up by Ken I will include them here. My thanks again to each of the designers and producers who came along and shared their learnings.

Keith

Meet the Brewers postposed – sadly :-(

This is the third in the series of the Biabeag Meet The Maker evenings and tickets sales to date are too low to risk bringing Caroline, Cuilan and Grainne together on Saturday evening in front of what could be a crowd less than the 60+ we have had to date.

Not fully sure why – suspecting that next year the first three Meet The Maker events will be scheduled tighter together and finish mid-May before summertime and the plethora of food festivals fully kicks in.

I am disappointed for those of you who have already booked tickets (I will do full refunds shortly to you) and personally disappointed because I was looking forward to it :-)

FYI the Slow Food meeting which is scheduled to happen at 4pm on Saturday in Highbank is still happening.

Keith

 

Grainne Walsh, Metalman (@metalman_gra) 7th June, Meet the Brewers

Genuine pleasure to have a female brewer with us on 7th June who was also the first full-timer in Metalman. Photo below taken by Peter Grogan.

grainne_batman

Grainne interviews far and wide as part of her role and so I have picked a couple of the more interesting quotes from those interviews in preparation for the 7th.

First from the National HomeBrew website on her initial contact with Cuilan from White Gypsy

“In general it was a great experience, although there is a lot to be said for being in control of your own production rather than at the mercy of someone else’s priorities. When I first contact Cuilán about brewing for us, he was extremely positive and helpful – there’s no doubt that he was laughing inwardly (and sometimes outwardly!) at this pair of jokers from the IT world who had it in their heads that they wanted to get into the brewing industry. But he never once discouraged us from following our crazy dream. When I first shared the recipe for our pale ale with him, he hesitated, then said “that’s a lot of hops!”. I almost faltered here to be honest. After all, here was a seasoned brewing professional who had a wealth of experience that we could only aspire to. So maybe we were wrong with the recipe? Maybe the hopping was just too much? Maybe the beer would be wildly off-balance? So I hesitated myself before I responded. “Yep! It is a lot of hops!” He was dubious, but then hoppy beers were not exactly his modus operandi at that point. Now however, he makes a very nice pale ale called Mustang made with American hops, so we like to think that at the same time we were learning from him, he was also learning from us! We’re obviously glad we stuck with our plan, as the pale ale came out pretty well even from the first batch.”

Since then they have moved into their own brew house.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 17.11.39

 

From their own website on the latest of their collaborative brews  – Grainne has a wee bit of a name for experimentation :-)

“Some time ago in Dublin, we met Ann and Dave from Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria, and over a few beers, the conversation inevitably turned to collaboration brewing. Emails were exchanged, Skype conversations were scheduled and rescheduled until eventually, a date was set for the deed. The Hardknott folk travelled to Ireland, we finalised a recipe, and Yerba was born.
Coming up with recipes for collaboration brews is not very easy – fun certainly, but easy, no! Perhaps we would have been better set to brainstorm the recipe over a few beers, but instead what happened was, we sat down with a cuppa on a rainy afternoon at Metalman, the day before we planned to brew, and said “right, what are we making then?”
Silence.

Some “umms” and “aahhs” while we waited for the creative juices to kick in, but sometimes forcing things along can be quite strenuous! Thankfully though, there is nothing like a deadline, and once the caffeine started to kick in, the ideas starting firing forth. We bandied about flavour combinations that we thought would be interesting, and then we wondered about style definitions that might work with them. We thought tea might be an interesting ingredient to use, so we called up the nice people at Kingfisher Tea to see what delights they might have. It turned out that Mico’s description of her Sweet Orange Maté was simply irresistible to us, and with that as our starting point, it felt like everything fell into place.”

Yerba-badge-Trans-background-297x300

From the Drinks Industry Ireland website on the occasion of their winning the Beoir Beer of the Year in 2013

“Each year, Beoir has its members vote for their favourite beers from all commercially available beer brewed on the island of Ireland. The results this year placed Metalman Pale Ale at the top of the list with Jameson Stout from the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork taking second place and Leann Folláin from Carlow Brewing Company third.

Metalman Pale Ale is an American-style pale ale brewed in Waterford with hops from the US west coast to deliver a citrus kick with hints of grapefruit and mandarin.

Director at Metalman Brewing Gráinne Walsh commented, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award – there are more great Irish beers available now than ever before, so to be told that ours was voted the best makes us very proud – we’re thrilled!”.
Having launched its first beer on the market in March 2011, Metalman Brewery now makes a range of beers available on draught only in a selection of stockists around the country.”

Looking forward to hearing her on the night :-)

Full Meet The Brewers event details and booking here.

Keith

 

Outstanding By Design – Photos, Videos and Audio @anygivenfood

In the world of well resourced events everyone has a media partner – usually one of the national newspapers or a national radio station. I have/had my good mate Ken McGuire who wears his AnyGivenFood hat for such stuff.

On 12th May he took photos – sample underneath and full post here.

Screenshot 2014-05-18 16.31.58 Screenshot 2014-05-18 16.32.35 Screenshot 2014-05-18 16.32.44

He shot video and is slowly splitting out the audio tracks so that you can listen to the full day on podcasts.

First one of Sarah and Paddy can be listened to at this link here.  The second with Giles Calver is on this link here.  The full AnyGivenFood podcast series covering Biabeag and a lot more can be subscribed via the links in his post here.

Finally the videos are being put up on Youtube and the first two are embedded below.

I’ll post further videos as they are edited and uploaded – thanks Ken :-)

Keith