Celebrations as Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards Winners Announced
1st November 2015
New Business Award 2015
Winner: Dunnet Bay Distillers
Seventeen businesses across the Highlands, islands and Cairngorms National Park area are celebrating wins from the area's most prestigious food and drink awards.
The awards recognise excellence across a range of businesses from artisan producers and large-scale food exporters to restaurants and farm shops. Demonstrating the strength and diversity of the region's food and drink industry, winners included brand new start up businesses like the Skye Farm Shop alongside established organisations like the Orkney Fishermen's Society Ltd.
New company the Windswept Brewing Company won the Excellence Award and there was an unusual joint win for the Young Shining Star award for Associated Seafoods Ltd's Tammy Rendall and Sinclair Bain of the Orkney Fishermen's Society Ltd. One of the most prestigious awards, The Ambassador of the Year, was presented to Calum and Jill Clark of Connage Highland Dairy.
The awards received more entries this year than ever before in its eleven year history and were announced at a sold-out ceremony at Inverness’ Kingsmills Hotel on Friday 23 October by comedian Fred MacAulay.
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are delivered with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Crystal Mackay, Development Manager at HIE, said:
"2015, the Year of Food & Drink has been fantastic for our businesses and many have benefited from the increased exposure at events such as Showcasing Scotland in Gleneagles and the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London. Our congratulations go to the winners and runners-up who have all risen to the challenge and ensured the reputation of our produce and natural larder is amongst the best in the world."
Gordon & MacPhail, one of the UK’s leading independent wine, spirit and whisky wholesalers, is headline sponsor. Stephen Rankin, UK Sales Director, said:
"This year we have again been overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of the products and services offered by the people who enter the awards.
"The Highlands and Islands have an outstanding reputation for fabulous food and drink. The calibre of all our entries proves that reputation is well deserved and the skill, dedication and resourcefulness of our producers is to be applauded."
See the full list of winners at -
A new £16 million initiative is to be launched in the Highlands to boost innovation. The Northern Innovation Hub (NIH) will focus on four key industry sectors.
A new residential music studio in the Outer Hebrides is set to capitalise on its scenic location and high-end technology to attract both UK and international recording artists. Black Bay Studio has opened for business on the island of Great Bernera just off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis.
It has never been more important for businesses in the Highlands and Islands to target global markets, writes Martin Johnson, HIE's head of international trade and investment. At the same time global markets have never been more accessible to the region, so we are in a good place.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of business and sector development. Originally from County Durham, David Oxley joined the organisation in 2004 as head of operations in Lochaber before moving to Forres with his wife and son in 2011 to take up the role of area manager in Moray.
The development of Inverness Campus moves another step forward with tenders being invited to build a second life science building. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading on the development of the campus.
Aerospace and defence sector opportunities in the region highlighted at event Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free workshop to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It will be held in at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on Tuesday 26 September 2017 The event is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and ADS Scotland which is the Scottish branch of the aerospace, defence, security and space industry trade organisation, ADS.
Over 250 community leaders from across Scotland will meet in Aviemore today and tomorrow (21-22 September) at a national conference to look at the impact and future role of community-led development on Scotland's social and economic fortunes. The event, hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by the Scottish Government, brings together community groups, academia and experts to discuss the vital contribution communities make to Scotland and consider how to support their continuing and increasing ambitions.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has just announced over £660K of funding for 13 new projects aiming to develop innovative control systems for wave energy converters. This initiative brings together control systems specialists from mature sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas, to work with Scottish technology developers in addressing the challenges of controlling and integrating Wave Energy Converter (WEC) systems and their components.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is offering its clients across the region support to protect themselves from cyber attacks, by launching the Cyber Strong business project. Co-inciding with Digital Leaders Cyber Resilience Week (11-15 September 2017), the agency is launching a programme to help local businesses and social enterprises achieve national Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Food and drink businesses looking to grow through innovation are encouraged to register for a free workshop which takes place in Inverness on 31 August. The event will focus on the new ‘Make Innovation Happen' service which provides a single access point for all innovation support to the Scottish food and drink industry.
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