Sunday 19 January 2020

Food news: an investment that's guaranteed to mature

Katy McGuinness

Cheers: Rod and Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Farm. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Cheers: Rod and Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Farm. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
POPS from Balfe's
Belmond Grand Hibernian

Highbank Orchard Syrup is one of the great Irish artisan products, a natural and 100pc organic syrup made from apples that's as good on porridge as it is on toast, and can be used in marinades and sauces and just about anywhere that requires a touch of sweetness. It's the Irish equivalent of maple syrup and a staple ingredient in many foodie store-cupboards.

Rod and Julie Calder-Potts are the couple behind Highbank Organic Farm in Co Kilkenny, which dates back to the 17th century. The first organic apple orchards were planted in 1969 to compliment the hop gardens, and the Kilkenny limestone soil produces exceptional apples.

Since then, the Calder-Potts have built on the success of their syrup by diversifying into apple juice and cider production - both their Medieval cider and non-alcoholic Drivers' Cider are excellent.

In 2014 they established Ireland's smallest craft distillery in the farm's original dairy, and produce an organic Apple Gin, Liqueur Brandy and Apple Vodka. Now the Calder-Potts are offering investors an opportunity to buy into their rare 2016 Vintage Single Estate Organic Liqueur, releasing eight casks of the Orchard Spirit, which will be laid down in the Highbank Orchards bonded warehouse in Kilkenny on behalf of their owners.

"As Ireland's only single estate organic distillery we have very limited production. The eight casks we are offering for investment make up approximately 30pc of our 2016 crop, so the owners will have something that is very rare to sell in five to 12 years' time," says Rod Calder-Potts, who says that the liqueur improves with age and will be at its best at between five and 10 years old.

The price of a 535 litre cask of the Orchard Spirit is €18,072+vat, but if that's too big of an ask, there are options to syndicate the ownership of a cask with two others.

It's a more interesting opportunity than most, and guarantees investors something to offer guests after dinner. Last year Highbank offered a small number of casks of the current vintage, all of which were sold to investors in the UK and Scandinavia. The Calder-Potts are now working with those investors to maximise their return.

Prospective investors should contact /


Nutterly Delicious

Activation is where it's at when it comes to maximising the nutritional benefits of nuts, and Nutmost's activated almonds (tamari and Himalayan salt flavours) and walnuts (maple) are addictive. €2.99 per 100g packet from selected SuperValu and Fresh supermarkets nationwide.

Cool cocktails

At only 36 calories a pop, the Moscow Mule popsicle from POPS is exclusive to Balfes in Dublin 2. Made with Chase vodka and Fevertree ginger beer, it's a partner to the Champagne, Bellini and alcohol-free versions that are also available. Prices from €4-€7.

Ticket to dine

Alan Woods, formerly of Thornton's restaurant, has been appointed head chef on the Belmond luxury touring train. Woods will use venison from Killarney, scallops from the Beara Peninsula and turf-smoked salmon from Donegal to bring a contemporary twist to traditional Irish dishes.

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