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 -
Dunnet Bay Distillers, the UK's most northerly mainland distillery, has secured its first nationwide supermarket listing, with its acclaimed Rock Rose Gin launching into 135 Sainsbury's stores this July. The launch is the latest in a series of exciting developments for the craft distillery, which has significantly expanded to keep up with growing demand.
Unique Caithness collaboration will delight both archaeology and gin enthusiasts. Archaeology and craft gin may seem like worlds apart, but two entrepreneurial companies from the far north of Scotland have teamed up to create a special craft gin, inspired by the prehistoric landscape of Caithness.
Up to 100 new homeworking jobs are set to be created in the Highlands and Islands. The jobs will be for people with excellent customer care skills looking for the flexibility of working from home.
The launch of Broch Rose gin is on Wednesday 20th evening at the distillery tasting room of Dunnet Bat Distillery. Tickets are £20 including a Rock Rose G&T, canapes, tutored tasting of Broch Rose gin and to finish a Broch Rose G&T.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new regional head of innovation and technology. Based in An Lòchran, Inverness, David Howie is responsible for a dynamic portfolio that includes all HIE activities on innovation, technology and advanced engineering.
A new report has called for more promotion of Scotland's aquaculture sector and supply chain as a rewarding long-term career choice, particularly for young people and for women. The ‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland' was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on behalf of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG), and in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.
More than half (53%) of Highlands and Islands businesses plan to take on new staff in the coming year, and most plan to recruit them from within the region, new research has revealed. Over 1,000 firms took part in the latest quarterly business panel survey carried out by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in February.
Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth, has unveiled the next wave of speakers for the one-of-a-kind event this summer in Inverness. Taking place 27-28 of June 2018, XpoNorth 2018 will see a range of leading voices from across the national and international creative industries gather in the Highland capital to deliver one of the most exciting, inspiring, informative and unique events of its kind.
Individuals, businesses and community groups in and around 14 communities in the Highlands and Islands have an extra two weeks to take part in an online survey on rural banking services. Among other things, the survey asks about the importance of being able to withdraw and deposit cash locally, experiences of using Post Office and mobile banking services, and the perceived impacts of local branch closures.
Businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to grow and become more competitive are set to benefit from a new initiative for entrepreneurs. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has teamed up with Entrepreneurial Scotland (ES) to enable more enterprising individuals in the region to access its full range of activities and services.
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