Thirty-three businesses across the North East are celebrating after reaching the finals of the esteemed North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards 2019 following 80 applications across all categories.
The awards, delivered in partnership between Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, have been running for more than 25 years and are open to all food and drink producers in the Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray areas.
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.
This year’s awards include 13 different categories spanning the breadth of the industry. Internationalisation, innovation and capitalising on links between the food, drink and tourism industry are recognised drivers for long-term sector growth and this was recognised in a high number of entries in categories including; Export Business of the Year, Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience and the Innovation Award.
Other highlights from the judging include:
- Entries were received for sixty-nine new products, indicative of the high level of innovation and new product development which exists in the region
- The industry continues to attract new talent with 12 businesses entering for the first time
- Reflecting the high number of breweries and distilleries in the region, the Best Brewed or Distilled category has been split into two separate categories to allow fair judging across the different sectors.
Alan Leslie, Buying Director, ALDI, and head judge at the awards said: “The quality of entries to this year’s North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards was incredibly high, which made the judging process challenging but enjoyable. It was great to see the strength and diversity of businesses flourishing across the region and we believe the finalists reflect the very best the North East has to offer. Congratulations again to everyone that entered, it was a pleasure judging these awards and I’d like to wish all the finalists the very best of luck.”
The businesses reaching the 2019 finals are:
Aberdeenshire Highland Beef, Associated Seafoods Ltd., Balvenie St. Ice Cream, Blackford Craft Distillery, Brew Toon, Dean’s, Deeside Distillery, El:gin, Esker Spirits, Farmlay Eggs, Forest Farm – Organic Dairy, Glen Garioch Distillery, Gordon Castle Walled Garden Café, Hungry Squirrel, John Ross Jr (Aberdeen) Ltd (Christopher Leigh), Joseph Robertson (Aberdeen) Ltd, Keith Brewery Ltd, Kingsgate Preserves, Lost Loch Spirits Ltd, Mackie’s of Scotland, Mackintosh of Glendaveny Ltd, Macphie Ltd, Raven Spirits Limited, rora dairy, six°north, Spey Valley Brewery, Speyside Specialities, Summerhouse Drinks, The House of Botanicals, The Kindness Bakery, The Teasmith Spirit Company, VegCo, Windswept Brewing Co Ltd.
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.