Cheese and Dairy Awards

Tirlán wins eight medals at prestigious International Cheese & Dairy Awards, including gold for plant-based cheese

Top-quality cheddar produced at Tirlán’s Wexford and Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny plants has won eight medals at this year’s International Cheese  & Dairy Awards in the UK, beating off competition from among over 5,000 international entries. 

Among the top prizes won by Tirlán at the prestigious 2023 Awards in the UK were gold in the Longest Vegan Stretch Cheese competition and the Volac trophy for the Best Medium Creamery Block Cheddar. 

Garry Sheehan, Product Manager,  Plant-based Cheese, said they are thrilled to win gold in the Longest Vegan Stretch category. “This is the first time we’ve entered our vegan cheese in any awards and to win a gold medal on our first outing is phenomenal. 

“We launched our plant-based cheese concept for pizzas in December 2021. Oat-Standing™ Plant-Based Grated Pizza Mix has been developed specifically for use on pizza. It is an excellent plant-based alternative to give consumers a cheese like experience.

“We knew ourselves that we had a good product. But to win this award is a huge boost to the entire plant-based team and an incredible seal of approval from the international judging panel.”

Gerry Warren is a Tirlán Cheese Grader. He said the judges commented that the texture and flavour of Tirlán cheddar really stood out. This, he says, is down to the top quality milk supplied by Tirlán’s dedicated farm families. It helps them produce the highest quality, sustainable, grass-fed cheeses which win awards year after year.

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Gerry Warren said: “We are delighted to have achieved such a strong performance at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards yet again this year. We were once again up against stiff competition from other leading cheddar producers to win three gold, four silver and one bronze medal. 

“We take great pride in what we do and it shows in the awards we’ve won again this year. We continue to strive for excellence. Our talented teams in both at Rocklands in Wexford and in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny played a huge role in these wins. They must be commended for their attention to detail every day. This ensures that we deliver top-quality cheddar for our valued customers.”

A €35 million investment in Tirlán’s production facility at Rocklands, just outside Wexford town, was supported by Enterprise Ireland. It has doubled peak capacity at the plant. Similar to Ballyragget, it produces mild, medium, mature and vintage mature cheeses which are enjoyed all over the world. 

Tirlán is the largest milk processor in Ireland, processing over 3 billion litres of milk annually. It is the  largest cheese producer in Europe,  with two cheddar style plants of significant scale. This dual plant supply option gives Tirlán unrivalled capability, plant flexibility and security of supply, Aoife Murphy, Director Ingredients at Tirlan said.“Tirlán has been at the forefront of cheddar cheese technology for more than 50 years and our experience developing award-winning cheese for international retail, foodservice and ingredients markets is globally recognised. We produce a wide range of high quality, natural cheeses with the right tastes and performance characteristics for all application needs. 

“Tirlán’s more recent CheddMax cheese solutions portfolio offers natural cheese solutions which deliver exceptional results in the areas of browning, slicing, shredding, melt and many more desirable functionalities to the foodservice industry,” she said.

Tirlán’s role in cheese processing will further increase when Kilkenny Cheese,  a state-of-the-art continental cheese facility will be commissioned early next year. It’s a €200m joint venture between Tirlán and Royal A-Ware where over 50,000 tonnes of continental cheese will be produced per year.

Kilkenny Cheese will produce continental cheeses such as Edam, Emmenthal, and Gouda using Irish milk produced from our grass-fed cows. This investment will broaden Tirlán’s cheese portfolio to  deliver cheese solutions across the board, from consumer brands for retail, private label, food service and quick serve restaurants, as well as industrial business to business (B2B) solutions.