North East Scotland Food & Drink Award winners announced

The organisers of the North East Scotland Food and Drink Awards appreciate that this is a very challenging time for the food and drink industry.

The country is dealing with extraordinary health, economic and financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these difficult times, Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East are keen that we take a moment to celebrate and support the businesses in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray who entered the 2020 Awards.

While businesses currently have urgent and pressing operational challenges to address, the Awards wanted to recognise those businesses that are working so very hard to keep the food supply chain running and therefore virtually connected the food and drink community for the awards announcement, which was revealed online on March, 31.

The 2020 North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards included 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 reflected across the broad range of entries received this year. We also recognised producers who are demonstrating leadership in the sector in response to the climate emergency, through the new Sustainability category.

The winners of the 2020 awards are; Brew Toon, Donald Russell Ltd, Farmlay Eggs, Forest Farm - The Organic Dairy, International Fish Canners (Scotland) Ltd, Lost Loch Spirits Ltd, Mackie's of Scotland, rora dairy, Sutherlands of Portsoy, The Teasmith Spirit Company Ltd and WooHa Brewing Company.

Two local companies were celebrating double wins categories of The Sustainability Award and Best Retail Product – small for Forest Farm - The Organic Dairy and Food & Drink Business Growth Award and Export Business of the Year for Mackie's of Scotland.

Forest Farm is an award-winning, family-owned organic dairy. The certified organic farm is also home to Scotland's first milk vending machines, established to provide the local community with the opportunity to buy milk from the cows they see grazing on their doorstep. They strive to be truly sustainable by using no pesticides or fertilisers, managing field rotations, creating wildlife habitats and by practising animal husbandry of the highest welfare standards. They won the Best Retail Product – small for their handmade gelato range.

Mackie’s of Scotland has a strong track record in the Awards, winning an award almost every year since their inception. They are successfully developing their brand globally with increasing sales of ice cream, chocolate & crisps in over 20 countries. In 2019 Mackie’s of Scotland export sales increased by 78% with over 2 million tubs of ice cream shipped to Asia from the Aberdeenshire home farm and successful development of new chocolate sales and entry to some new export markets like Hong Kong, mainland China and the USA.

The judging panel for this year’s awards included Ronnie Kelman, Business Director, ESS Support Services Worldwide, Kevin Shand, Regional Account Manager, Braehead Foods Ltd, James Taylor, Buying and Trade Marketing Manager, Gordon & MacPhail, Peter Sherry, Founder, The Beerhive Sarah Mackie, Buying Director, Brakes and Karen Ford, Manager, Brodie Countryfare.

The Awards have received sponsorship from a range of businesses and organisations, including: title sponsor ESS Support Services Worldwide, CMS, Dentons UK and Middle East LLP, Johnston Carmichael, Scotland Food & Drink, Serco NorthLink Ferries, Skills Development Scotland and Strachans.

MOST SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT
Dean’s – Steven Brown Art All Butter Shortbread Gift Tins range
Summerhouse Drinks – Winter Spice
WINNER: Brew Toon – M’ango Unchained (Mango IPA)

BEST RETAIL PRODUCT (small businesses)
Aurora Sustainability Ltd - Green Grow Food – Gourmet Mushroom easy-to-cook meals
Succulento – Ketchup & Sauce
The Crafty Pickle Co – Katz Kimchi
WINNER: Forest Farm - The Organic Dairy – Handcrafted Artisan Gelato & Sorbet

BEST RETAIL PRODUCT (large businesses)
Dean’s – Extra Mature Cheddar Bites range
James Rizza & Sons Ltd – Luxury Double Dairy Gold range
John Ross – Waitrose 200g Pack
Mackie’s of Scotland – Rhubarb & Strawberry Indulgent Dairy Ice Cream
Sutherlands of Portsoy – Honey Roast Hot Smoked Salmon
WINNER: International Fish Canners (Scotland) Ltd – Sainsbury Taste the Difference Hot Smoked Mackerel

BEST BREWED PRODUCT
Brew Toon – Dark Nite
Brew Toon – MAYDAY!
six°north – Wanderlust Wheat
WINNER: WooHa Brewing Company – Speakeasy Champagne Beer

BEST DISTILLED PRODUCT
Esker Spirits Ltd – Silverglas Gin Range
Moray Distillery Ltd – Avva Blink Scottish Gin
Moray Distillery Ltd – Avva Pink Scottish Gin
Raven Spirits Ltd – HRAFN GIN ‘Valhalla’
WINNER: The Teasmith Spirit Company Ltd – Broich Single Estate Gin

BEST FOODSERVICE PRODUCT
Dean’s – Steven Brown Art All Butter Shortbread Thins
James Rizza & Sons Ltd – Rizza’s Vegan Gelatos
Wark Farm – Vegan Nutty Carrot Pie
WINNER: Sutherlands of Portsoy – Traditional Smoked Salmon cured with Glenglassaugh Torfa Whisky

BEST YOUNG BUSINESS
Forest Farm - The Organic Dairy
Moray Distillery Ltd
The Teasmith Spirit Company Ltd
WINNER: rora dairy

FOOD & DRINK BUSINESS GROWTH AWARD
Angus & Oink Ltd
Associated Seafoods Ltd
Barra Bronzes
Duncan’s of Deeside Ltd
John Ross
WINNER: Mackie’s of Scotland

BEST FOOD & DRINK TOURISM EXPERIENCEBarra Castle Ltd – Taste of Winter
Forest Farm – The Organic Dairy – Gelato Garden & Pop-Up Parlour
Porter’s Gin – Porter’s Gin Micro-Distillery Visit
WINNER: Lost Loch Spirits Ltd – Lost Loch Spirits School

INVESTING IN SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Donald Russell Ltd

INNOVATION AWARD
John Ross – Costco Twin Pack
The Wee Hemp Company – CBD Infused Food & Drinks
WINNER: Farmlay Eggs – Automated Tray Hygiene System


EXPORT BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Angus & Oink Ltd
Bickiepegs Healthcare Ltd
John Ross
WINNER: Mackie’s of Scotland

THE SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
Aurora Sustainability Ltd – Green Grow Food – Using Food Waste to Grow Taste
Mackintosh of Glendaveny Ltd – Sustainable Business Model
The Bay Fish & Chips – Turning the Tide on Waste
The Crafty Pickle Co – Fighting Food Waste
Wark Farm – Environmentally Sustainable Business
WINNER: Forest Farm - The Organic Dairy – Soil to Sale Sustainability