Businesses from across the Highlands and Islands are celebrating after the winners of the 2018 Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards were revealed.
Fourteen businesses were named victorious in their categories including Bad Girl Bakery, Wester Ross Fisheries and Dunnet Bay Distillers.
The awards dinner and ceremony took place at the four-star Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness and was hosted by STV presenter, Jennifer Reoch.
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards highlight and celebrate the finest businesses that are helping put the region on the map. Winners were recognised for their innovation, quality and commitment to the food and drink industry.
Further celebration was in order for Finlay MacDonald of Chocolates of Glenshiel who received the new award for Young Ambassador of the Year which was revealed in line with Scotland’s 2018 Year of Young People.
This award recognises the most passionate and hardworking young people in the Highlands and Islands.
The Ambassador of the Year title, which celebrates an influential individual who has made a significant impact in the industry, was awarded to Sam Faircliff, managing director of Cairngorm Brewery. This category was open to public nominations, with the final winner being chosen by the awards steering group.
Sam said: ‘For those of you who already know me you know that I shout about how fantastic our produce is from the Highlands and Islands without being asked, so to be the Ambassador of the Year for the next year is a real honour and delight. Thank you to all those involved, and I look forward to the coming year.’
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are delivered with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Elaine Jamieson, head of Food & Drink at HIE, said: ‘Entries to the awards were significantly higher in 2018 than in previous years, and categories were very competitive.
‘It is very encouraging to see the diversity and quality of products coming from the Highlands and Islands.
‘It is the overwhelming passion that the people from our region have for producing and providing great food and drink that is putting the Highlands and Islands at the top of the country’s food and drink industry.
‘The winners should be very proud to have outshined their competition and I hope these well-deserved and independently judged awards will be a distinguishing asset to their businesses.’
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards launched in 2005 and have since rewarded and supported some of the region’s most celebrated food and drink businesses. The Highlands and Islands make up a large portion of Scotland’s overall food and drink exports which reached the all-time high of £1billion earlier this year.
The results were –
Best Brewed, winner Black Isle Brewer Organic Range.
Best Distilled, winner Dunnet Bay Distillers, Lassies Toast Gin; highly commended, J Gow Spiced Rum.
Best Marketing Campaign, winner The Tomatin Distillery Co; highly commended Spey.
Export Award sponsored by XPO Logistics, established exporter, winner Loch Fyne Oysters; new exporter winner WooHa Brewing Company.
Food and Drink Business Growth Award sponsored by Johnston Carmichael, winner Bad Girl Bakery.
Healthier Food and Drink Award, winner Wester Ross Fisheries.
Independent Food & Drink Retailer of the Year, winner Elephants in the Pantry; highly commended The Phoenix.
Innovation Award sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, winner New Wave Foods.
New business award, winner Beinn an Tuirc Distillers; highly commended Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Café.
New product award, winner Isle of Barra Oysters; highly commended Great Glen Game Charcuterie – Scottish Pork Salami; highly commended Windswept Brewing Co. – Hurricane IPA.
Sustainability Award, winner Loch Fyne Oysters.
Young Ambassador of the Year sponsored by Brook Street, winner Finlay MacDonald of Chocolates of Glenshiel.
Best Eatery Award sponsored by Bidfood Scotland, winner Gordon Castle Walled Garden.
Restaurant of the Year sponsored by MacGregor Industrial Suppliers, winner Table Manors.
Ambassador of the Year, winner Sam Faircliff of Cairngorm Brewery.