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Glendalough distillery
Forager Geraldine KavanaghGlendalough Distillery
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Bite-Size: what's happening in food and drink this week

Foraging trips in Co Wicklow, planet-friendly beers - and a whiskey lover's dream come true,

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Our weekly food and drinks news roundup has a bit of a sustainability focus this week, with the launch of the first carbon-negative larger and the chance to learn all about Irish native plants and botanicals in Co Wicklow. 

Elsewhere the Grow With Aldi initiative will see over a hundred Irish-made products landing on shelves this week, while whiskey fans will want to head to Brown Thomas soon to check out a very special collection of some of the finest whiskey money (and perhaps a Lotto win) can buy. Read on for all the info.

A fine brew
BrewDog, the Scottish craft brewery, is stepping up its already impressive sustainability mission with the launch of a carbon-negative lager. Billed as a “planet first” lager, LOST lager is brewed using 30 per cent less water, 100 per cent wind power and surplus fresh bread is used to replace some of the malt which forms the base of the beer.  “Our research shows that despite 92 per cent of people wanting to live a sustainable lifestyle, only 16 per cent are actively changing behaviour," Alex Dullard, head of customer marketing at BrewDog says. "It is, therefore, the responsibility of brands like BrewDog to help consumers act more sustainably.” LOST lager is currently available from Tesco stores. brewdog.com

Only mighty
The Mighty Mushroom Co in Monaghan has launched a new range of family-friendly meat-free products including burgers, mince and sausages that look and taste like the real thing. The products are made with up to 85 per cent mushrooms, grown on sustainable Irish farms, and are soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan friendly. Only natural, wholefood ingredients are used meaning there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives in there. Priced from €3.50 per pack the new range is available from Eurospar stores. mightilymeatfree.com

Get growing
The Grow With Aldi supplier development programme is back for a fourth year and this Sunday (6 June) sees over 100 products from 57 suppliers arriving in Aldi stores. Developed in partnership with Bord Bia, the initiative supports small and medium Irish suppliers through mentoring and workshops from the Aldi buying team and Bord Bia technical experts. Producers also have the chance to have their products stocked on Aldi shelves. There was a focus on sustainability this year and the lineup includes Hilden Brewery in Antrim, White Rabbit BBQ in Cork, Mama Nagis in Dublin, The Fig Tree Restaurant in Kilkenny and Karri Kitchen in Armagh. The Grow With Aldi products will be on sale nationwide for two weeks from Sunday 6 June. aldi.ie

Nature trail
Glendalough Distillery in Co Wicklow is well known for using local botanicals in its gins and this summer you have the chance to discover just how they’re selected. You can join Geraldine Kavanagh, one of the world’s only full-time foragers, on a sustainably focused foraging trip around the forests and valleys of Wicklow. Kavanagh will share her expert knowledge about Ireland’s native wild plants and show how the botanicals for Glendalough spirits are selected. She'll also offer tips on what you could forage for your own kitchen. The three-hour excursion is free but spaces are limited. To book your spot, register at GlendaloughDistillery.com.

Get crafty
This week sees the arrival of the world’s first Midleton Craft Collection Whiskey Store. It’s opening in Brown Thomas Dublin on Thursday 3 June. It will be home to the full Midleton Craft Collection including Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest Trees 1-7, Redbreast, Method and Madness, Powers John’s Lane, and Jameson. You can also check out the first bottle of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two to go on sale in Ireland. The 46-year-old single pot is priced at €40,000 but if that’s a little over the budget, the good news is that prices in the store start at €60.