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    Berry Fest 2023

    As part of the “Czas na polskie superowoce!” (English: “Time for Polish superfruits!”) project, Berry Fest – a review of berry spirit drinks – was organised. The competition started the integration of the producer community. It also showcased fruit wines and liqueurs as part of the Polish culinary tradition.

    “Berry-based alcohols can be a market success. They are part of the packaging of Polish culinary art, regional product, food product, agriculture, and fruit farming. For hundreds of years, berries have been in the mainstream of what is grown in Poland and from which alcohol is made. We can see that they are coming back,” Zbigniew Kmieć, an expert on agriculture and food production from the Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers of Poland and a juror of Berry Fest 2023, says.


    How well does this offering fit in with global trends?


    “The contemporary global spirits market is looking for things that are original and things with a defined clear regional, national identity, with a clear embedding in culinary tradition. Even if not literally, it’s simply about a certain arrangement of flavours, combinations, a certain understanding, and a spirit of culinary tradition. I believe that berries, like almost no other product, reflect the spirit of Polish cuisine. This is the Polish style of flavouring, combining sour with sweet, building contrasts, not being afraid to give sweetness to dry meats and so on. This is the spirit of Polish cuisine, culinary combinations, gastronomic and alcoholic combinations,” Zbigniew Kmieć adds.

    “The trends are matched by the Berry Fest formula. As a jury, we meet the creators and simply talk about what we like, and what we don’t like. We discuss how to make it better or how to make it sell better. By the way, we learn from each other,” Lukasz Klesyk, culinary editor, and spirits expert, describes.


    Who was attracted to the Berry Fest?


    “It brought together dozens of people who are at different levels and involved in berry production, sales and promotion in different ways. People came together who believe that berries can be used to produce good spirits, that they can be commercially successful and can bring prosperity to their producers.” Zbigniew Kmieć, juror of Berry Fest 2023, describes.

    “This meeting was the premiere and unique. It brought together berry growers with people who create spirits from these fruits. The energy and know-how that Berry Fest brought together are valuable. There is a vision for the development of this industry, there is potential, traditions, hospitality, which is the showpiece of Poland,” Mikołaj Rey, culinary expert, enthusiast of gastronomic challenges and successes of Polish producers, also a juror of the recently concluded Berry Fest 2023, says.

    “Berry-based products, Polish fruit wine and liqueurs in general, are treated somewhat stereotypically. This is a market segment that should be disenchanted. The people who can do this are us, the HoReCa industry, and the sommelier industry. You are at the beginning of a journey that involves finding your own identity, striving for continuous improvement of product quality and joint promotion,” Katarzyna Puk, sommelier, a judge in wine competitions, and juror of Berry Fest 2023, says.


    Going back to our roots and looking to the future


    “The berry sector is constantly looking for new solutions and new markets. At the moment, a new trend is forming in Poland, although we can also say here that we are going back to our roots. Raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant wines and tinctures are very Polish products. We should take advantage of this trend. We can use the natural qualities of berries. It is certainly worth starting with what has been known in our country for years, which is currant wine and raspberry tinctures. These two species should be at the forefront. They will be joined by chokeberries. I think this could be a hit,” Dr Paweł Krawiec, grower, producer, and promoter of berries, says.


    The first review attracted producers of 28 fruit wines, tinctures, and distillates. Among the winners were currant, Kamchatka berry and highbush blueberry wines, blackberry geist and tinctures made from raspberries, Cornelian cherry, gooseberries, and chokeberries. The redcurrant wine and the Polish kiwi berry tincture won the greatest praise from the jury. 


    The study was financed from the funds of the Fruit and Vegetable Promotion Fund as part of the implementation by the National Union of Producer Groups of Fruit and Vegetables of the campaign “Time for Polish Superfruits! 4th edition.”


    The project is carried out under the honorary patronage of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.


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