Barker's of Geraldine wins a New Zealand Food Award three years running

The Barker's of Geraldine team are, from left, Michael Barker, Bill Pridham, Kim Bulling, Danielle Esplin with sponsor ...
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The Barker's of Geraldine team are, from left, Michael Barker, Bill Pridham, Kim Bulling, Danielle Esplin with sponsor Mandy Tompkins from Villa Maria Wines. The company won the Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award in association with Villa Maria in Auckland on Thursday night for its Squeezed Fruit Botanicals Syrup: Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint.

It was a three-peat for Barker's of Geraldine at the New Zealand Food Awards, with the business scooping a category award for the third time in a row.

Barker's took out the top spot in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award category in association with Villa Maria, with its Squeezed Fruit Botanicals Syrup: Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint.

The company won the dry category award in 2015 with its New Zealand Seedless Berry Bramble Preserve, and the dry category section again in 2016 with its New Yorker Mustard Relish.

The Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint goes well with sparkling water and in margaritas.
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The Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint goes well with sparkling water and in margaritas.

Barker's of Geraldine company director Michael Barker believed a company winning an award for three consecutive years may be a first in the history of the awards.

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"Not many companies are able to pull a win out of the bag year on year," he said.

Winning in 2017 was a "very proud moment".

Both the Squeezed Lemon, Lime, Cucumber and Mint syrup and the Squeezed Blood Orange, Lime and Bitters syrup were released in October last year, and were both nominated for the award.

"Many products get entered into the awards ... and only some make the final. We had two products make the final."

The Squeezed Lemon, Lime, Cucumber and Mint won, which Barker suspected it would given it was a "stunning" product.

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"We're trying to make a really sophisticated, adult beverage," he said.

"We're using squeezed juice, not from concentration ... we actually squeezed the cucumbers ... we brought five tonne of cucumbers, threw them in the press and hoped like hell, and it worked brilliantly."

The fruit syrup could be used with sparkling water and also went well in a margarita, he said.

"We designed the product with all [these] thoughts in mind - less processing, strong provenance, less sugar, and sophisticated adult flavours, and we nailed it."

He believed it was proof of the company's dedication to innovation.

The award ceremony was held in Auckland on Thursday night.

Barker said the business had also recently launched a "ready to drink" lightly sparkling version of the low-sugar syrups in juice departments at supermarkets.

"We're always known as being the people who make syrups, but we thought we'd actually have a play in this place ... ready to drink."

 - Stuff

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