Finalists Announced for the North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards 2018

36 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 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, delivered in partnership with Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, has 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 22nd March at the Ardoe House Hotel, Aberdeen. Tickets are £72pp including VAT and 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.

NORTH EAST SCOTLAND FOOD AND DRINK AWARDS – SHORTLIST BY CATEGORY

Most Successful Product from the 2017 Awards

Associated Seafoods – M&S Twice Smoked Salmon
Castleton Farm Shop – Castleton Strawberry Tart Jelly
Dean’s – Dean’s Gluten Free Shortbread Range
Esker Spirits Ltd– Esker Gin
Mackie’s of Scotland – Limited Edition Mackie’s Indulgent Ice Cream

Best New Retail Product (Small Businesses)

Balvenie St. Ice Cream – Luxury Single Malt Whisky Ice Cream in 3 Casks of Character – Sweet & Sexy, Rich & Fruity, Smoky & Peaty
Big Beefy’s Biltong – Chilli, Honey Mustard
Hungry Squirrel – Savoury Range – ABC Mix, ABC Crunchy, Chai Spiced Almond
rora dairy – rora dairy Natural Yoghurt, Scottish Strawberry Yoghurt, Scottish Raspberry Yoghurt
The Alexander Smokery – La Fiesta
VegCo – Sweet Chilli Jam, Berry Christmas

Best New Retail Product (Medium Businesses)

Cocoa Ooze – Liquorice and Black Pepper Chocolate Pepper Bar. Cranachan White Chocolate Bar. Maple and Pecan Bar.
George Moir Savoury Foods – Mini Pie Selection – Steak, Mince, Macaroni
Summerhouse Drinks – St Clement’s
Sutherland’s of Portsoy – Hot Roast Scottish Mackerel with Succelento Savoury Tomato Curry Marinade, Hot Roast Scottish Mackerel with Succulento Sweet & Spicy Tomato Marinade, Hot Roast Scottish Hake
The Devenick Dairy – Artisan Cheese Selection

Best New Retail Product (Large Businesses)

Dean’s – Dean’s Shortbread Assortment 300g
Dean’s – Glitter Shortbread Squares 200g
Donald Russell – Boiling Beef, Beef Featherblade
John Ross Jr (Aberdeen) Ltd – Scottish Smoked Trout
Mackie’s of Scotland – Limited Edition Indulgent Real Dairy Ice Cream – St Clements, Caramel Biscotti
Smith Bakers – Cheese Sticks, Cheese & Chive Sticks

Best New Brewed or Distilled Product

Brew Toon – Brew Toon Range – Weekend Hooker, Raspberry Carronade, Northern Sinner
Fierce Beer – Very Big Moose
Lost Loch Distillery – Murmichan Absinthe
Spey Valley Brewery – Sailor Terry. Spey’s Hardware. Spey’s Hopper
Twin River Distillery – Twin River Gin (Naked)
Windswept Brewing Co – Lighthouse

Best New Foodservice Product

Balvenie St. Ice Cream – Luxury Single Malt Whisky Ice Cream in 3 Casks of Character – Sweet & Sexy, Rich & Fruity, Smoky & Peaty
Donald Russell – Beef Wellington Log with Truffle & Dijon Mustard
Mackie’s of Scotland – Buttery & Jam Ice Cream
rora dairy – rora dairy Natural Yoghurt, Scottish Strawberry Yoghurt, Scottish Raspberry Yoghurt
Smith Bakers – Mini Pie Selection – Steak, Macaroni, Mince
Summerhouse Drinks – St Clement’s

Denis Emslie Above & Beyond Award

(no shortlist – winner is announced at Awards Presentation Dinner)

Best Young Business

Fierce Beer
Hungry Squirrel
The Alexander Smokery
UWA Tequila
Wooha Brewing
Investing in Skills Development
Duncan Farms
Joseph Robertson
MacDuff Shellfish
The Bay Fish & Chips

North East Scotland Food & Drink Entrepreneur

Craig Wilson – Eat on The Green
Gregor Mackintosh – Mackintosh of Glendaveny
Paul Duncan – Duncan’s of Deeside

Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience

Brew Toon – Microbrewery Tour Experience
Glen Garioch Distillery – Legends of the Garioch Experience
The Tin Coo at The Devenick Dairy – Live Milking
The Walled Garden Trading Co – Gordon Castle Walled Garden Café

Innovation Award

Duncan Farms
Esker Spirits Ltd
UWA Tequila

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