Thirty-six businesses across the North East are celebrating after reaching the finals of the esteemed North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards 2018 following a record number of applications.
The awards, delivered in partnership with Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, celebrate the best of food and drink throughout Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, and Moray. This year, 48 businesses submitted 89 entries, testament to the region’s entrepreneurial spirit, continued innovation and global reputation for quality food and drink.
The awards have seen both shortlisted and winning businesses gain greater brand recognition, increased sales and new trade connections, all of which contribute to the sector’s important and growing role in the regional economy.
The judging panel for this year’s awards included Paul McQuade, Head of Department (Food Buying), LIDL, Karen Ford, Foodhall Manager at Brodie Countryfare, Jason Robertson, Retail Development Manager, National Trust for Scotland and Sarah Mackie, Brakes.
Paul McQuade, Chair of the judging panel, said: “We were very impressed by the calibre of entries that entered the North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards this year. It made the judging process no easy feat but it’s great to see brilliant businesses flourishing across the North East. Congratulations to all that entered and to all the businesses who have made it to the finals.”
There were 13 different categories in which businesses entered, including: Best New Retail Product, Best New Brewed or Distilled Product and Most Successful Product from the 2017 Awards.
The businesses reaching the 2018 finals are:
Associated Seafoods, Balvenie St. Ice Cream, Big Beefy’s Biltong, Brew Toon, Castleton Farm Shop, Cocoa Ooze, Craig Wilson of Eat on The Green, Dean’s, Donald Russell, Duncan Farms, Esker Spirits Ltd, Fierce Beer, George Moir Savoury Foods, Glen Garioch Distillery, Gregor Mackintosh of Mackintosh of Glendaveny, Hungry Squirrel, John Ross Jr (Aberdeen) Ltd, Joseph Robertson, Lost Loch Distillery, MacDuff Shellfish, Mackie’s of Scotland, Paul Duncan of Duncan’s of Deeside, rora dairy, Smith Bakers, Spey Valley Brewery, Summerhouse Drinks, Sutherland’s of Portsoy, The Alexander Smokery, The Bay Fish & Chips, The Devenick Dairy, The Tin Coo, The Walled Garden Trading Co, Twin River Distillery, UWA Tequila, VegCo, Windswept Brewing Co and Wooha Brewing.
North East Scotland has an excellent base for growth in food, drink, agriculture and seafood, with its wide range of primary produce, new businesses, big name brands and international connections. The food, drink and agriculture sector is a significant part of the region’s economy, directly employing more than 22,000 people. Excluding the whisky sector, it contributes an estimated 20% of Scotland’s food and drink industry output.
The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday 22 March at the Ardoe House Hotel, Aberdeen. Tickets can be booked online at: www.nesfoodanddrinkawards.co.uk.
The Awards have received sponsorship from a range of businesses from the North East and across Scotland, including ESS Support Services Worldwide, CMS, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Johnston Carmichael, Mackie’s of Scotland, Moray Council, Scotland Food & Drink, Skills Development Scotland and Styropack.