Ap­ple Press ap­peals to judges

Hastings Leader - - News -

Ap­ple juice made and bot­tled in Hawke’s Bay has been named the na­tion’s best non-al­co­holic bev­er­age less than six months af­ter it was launched.

In May The Ap­ple Press, along with par­ent com­pany Apollo Foods, fired up a new $30 mil­lion drinks fac­tory at Whakatu, and since then the good news just keeps on com­ing for the com­pany, which has just won a tro­phy at the 2018 New Zealand Food Awards.

The Ap­ple Press bot­tles spe­cific ap­ple va­ri­eties (Royal Gala, Jazz and Brae­burn) into pure juices with no added sugar or preser­va­tives.

Beat­ing 23 other en­tries, its Jazz juice was crowned “Best Non-Al­co­holic Bev­er­age” at the awards’ gala din­ner at Auck­land’s SkyCity Con­ven­tion Cen­tre re­cently. The awards, which have run since 1987, cel­e­brate cre­ative in­no­va­tion from New Zealand’s food and bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ers.

More than 220 prod­ucts were en­tered this year, with 67 prod­ucts from 54 com­pa­nies be­ing named fi­nal­ists.

Co-founder of The Ap­ple Press, Ross Beaton, says ev­ery­one in­volved was “ab­so­lutely thrilled” to win.

“We are a still a new start-up so to win a na­tional award af­ter five months is just fan­tas­tic.”

The New Zealand Food Awards ex­pert judg­ing panel in­cluded celebrity judges Bite magazine’s Ray McVin­nie, chef Ge­off Scott, World Kitchen tele­vi­sion host and chef Nici Wickes, and New Zealand’s only cer­ti­fied cicerone (beer ex­pert), Josh Scott.

“By iso­lat­ing spe­cific ap­ple va­ri­eties into pure juice, The Ap­ple Press take ap­ple juices to a mag­i­cal place,” Nici says.

The Ap­ple Press head of in­no­va­tion and strat­egy, Sally Gal­lagher, said since its launch in May, it had in­creased staffing lev­els from just a hand­ful to a team of 42.

PHOTO: PAUL TAY­LOR

Ross Beaton, founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, with Sally Gal­lagher, head of in­no­va­tion and strat­egy, at Hawke’s Bay Ap­ple Press in Whakatu, near Hast­ings.

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