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Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards - Shortlisted finalists announced

26 August 2013

‘The Isles Have It’, as 12 businesses from seven of Scotland’s islands make the grade

The Highlands and Islands-wide quest to honour the area’s most successful food and drink businesses, initiatives and individuals is on target for a nail-biting finale as the shortlisted finalists for the 2013 Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are announced.

The judges were faced with the difficult task of distilling down a quality selection of entries for the 12 awards up for grabs this year.   However, eventually 41 businesses made the shortlist grade, including 12 businesses from seven of Scotland’s islands – Arran, Easdale, Gigha, Lewis, Mull, Shetland and Skye. 

The 15-strong judging panel, chaired by Stephen Rankin, director of UK sales at the Awards’ headline sponsor Gordon & MacPhail, comprised experienced individuals from all sectors of the food and drink industry, including chef Colin Craig of the Michelin starred Albannach Hotel in Lochinver, Sutherland.

Also on the panel were representatives from food service specialist Brakes, industry organisation Scotland Food & Drink and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Chair Stephen Rankin commented: “I was genuinely excited at the prospect of being involved in the judging procedure.  All the judges agreed that the process of researching, analysing, debating, and selecting a shortlist for each category was incredibly tough due to the quality of the entrants.

“The process demonstrated to me that not only are we blessed with great natural ingredients in the Highlands and Islands, but also with individuals who, through imagination, creativity, determination, passion, skill and foresight turn these ingredients into wonderful products for consumers to enjoy.

“I would like to thank the many companies that entered the Awards and congratulate them all for their submissions. Being shortlisted for a Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Award given the high level of entrants is a truly fantastic accolade.

“I would also like to thank all the judges for their professional approach and the many hours spent studying and reviewing the applications. It demonstrates and maintains the credibility of the awards.”

The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards, organised by the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Forum, and supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), are the region’s most prestigious food and drink awards, celebrating excellence and achievement in the industry and recognising industry players at the top of their game.   The winners of the awards will be announced at an awards ceremony and dinner on 25th October. 

Iain Sutherland, senior development manager for food and drink at HIE said: “Once again, the judging for the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards was a challenge - but an enjoyable one - due to the volume of extremely high quality entries.  The strength of the craft beer entries in particular is clear evidence of the vibrancy of the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands.

“The shortlisted companies each now have a chance to go through to the national Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, representing the best of what our region has to offer. Food and drink from the Highlands and Islands is renowned throughout the world and we would like to congratulate each of the shortlisted companies and wish them the very best on the night."

The Awards Dinner and Ceremony to honour the winners will take place at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Friday, 25th October.  The event regularly attracts over 250 representatives from the region’s top food and drink businesses who gather to celebrate all that is best in the industry in the Highlands and Islands. 

This year the evening’s proceedings will be hosted by popular presenter and comedian Fred MacAulay.  Tickets cost £70 and can be purchased online at

The full list of shortlisted finalists is:

  • BEST DRINK AWARD: Sponsored by The Storehouse and J&D Cowper Ltd

    Berry Good, Vodka & Gin Infusion (Watten, Caithness)
    Cairngorm brewery, Black Gold (Aviemore)
    Cromarty Brewing Company, Happy Chappy (Cromarty)
    Speyside Craft Brewery, Randolph’s Leap Lager, Bottlenose Bitter, Moray IPA (Forres)
    Windswept Brewing Company, Windscept Wolf (Lossiemouth)
  • BEST EATERY AWARD: Sponsored by Brakes

    Applecross Inn, Strathcarron, Wester Ross
    Eilean Dubh, Fortrose
    Frankie’s Fish & Chips Shop, Café & Take Away, Shetland
    The Puffer Bar & Restaurant, Easdale Island, nr Oban
    Red Roof Café Gallery, Isle of Skye
  • BEST MARKETING INITIATIVE: Sponsored by Think Local
    Angelic Gluten Free, Inverness
    Cups Tearoom, Scrabster
    Grants of Speyside, Grantown on Spey
    Speyside Craft Brewery, Forres
    Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Elgin
  • ENVIRONMENT AWARD: Sponsored by Tio Ltd

    Island Bakery Organics, Isle of Mull
    Ninth Wave Restaurant, Isle of Mull
    Saladworx Ltd, Dornoch
  • HEALTHIER FOOD & DRINK AWARD: Sponsored by University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health

    Aquascot Ltd, Easy to Cook Range (Alness)
    Invereach Ltd, Super/Natural Energy Juice Drink (Inverness)
    Knockfarrel Producew & Natural Vegetable Company (Knockfarrel, nr Dingwall & Inverness)
    Strathconon Highland Organix, Organic Preserves (Strathconon)
  • INDEPENDENT FOOD & DRINK RETAIL OF THE YEAR AWARD: Sponsored by Ace Refrigeration Ltd

    Buth Beag, Kyle of Lochalsh
    40 North, Isle of Lewis
    H M Sheridan Ltd, Ballater
    Highland Bottle Shop, Inverness
    Royans of Elgin, Elgin
    The Storehouse, Nr Evanton
  • NEW BUSINESS AWARD: Sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink

    Angelic Gluten Free, Inverness
    The Cheese House, Cromarty
    Hebridean Sea Salt, Isle of Lewis
    Highland Bottle Shop, Inverness
    Highland Country Cooking, Grantown on Spey
    Old Post Office & Lochbuie Larder, Isle of Mull
    Speyside Craft Brewery, Forres
    Windswept Brewing Company, Lossiemouth
  • NEW PRODUCT AWARD: Sponsored by Polaris Learning

    Aquascot Ltd, Salmon side (fillet) with Orange, Mustard & Dill (Alness)
    Gigha Seafood, Smoked Gigha Halibut (Isle of Gigha)
    Great Glen Game, Scottish Pork Pepperoni (Roy Bridge)
    Hebridean Sea Salt, Hebridean Sea Salt (Isle of Lewis)
    Saladworx Ltd, Citrus-sea range of Dressings/Marinades/Drizzles (Dornoch)
    Strathconon Highland Organix, Courgette Cream, Cucumber Pickle, Spiced Apple Jelly, Wild Rowan Jelly (Strathconon)
  • RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR AWARD: Sponsored by Norbert Dentressangle

    Boath House, Auldearn, Nairn
    Eighteen69@Auchrannie, Isle of Arran
    The Glenview, Isle of Skye
    Ninth Wave Restaurant, Isle of Mull
    Scalloway Hotel, Shetland
    The Whitehouse Restaurant, Lochaline
  • YOUNG SHINING STAR AWARD: Sponsored by Cairngorms National Park

    Angus MacLeod, Kingsmills Hotel (Inverness)
    Carlyn Kearney, Frankie’s Fish & Chip Shop, Café & Take Away (Shetland)
    Michael Scott, Mike’s Filling Station (Invergordon)
    Seb Jones, Speyside Craft Brewery (Forres)

    Winner to be announced on the evening
  • AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR: Sponsored by North Highland Initiative

    Winner to be announced on the evening


  •  Now in their ninth year, the Awards complement the work of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Forum by encouraging food and drink businesses to be innovative, forward thinking and collaborative and by celebrating excellence and achievement. 
  •  Highlands and Islands Enterprise is an Awards Partner and, in addition to title sponsor Gordon & MacPhail, sponsors this year include Ace Refrigeration, Brakes, Cairngorms National Park, J&D Cowper Ltd, Johnston Carmichael, Norbert Dentressangle, North Highland Initiative, Polaris Learning Ltd, TIO Ltd, SAC/SRUC/(Think Local), Scotland Food & Drink, The Aberdeen University Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, The Storehouse. The media sponsor is Scottish Provincial Press.
  • Title sponsor Gordon & MacPhail is an independent, family-owned Scotch whisky specialist which has been based in Elgin, Moray, since 1895. Four generations of the Urquhart family have continued the tradition of seeking out the best and rarest Scotch whiskies. Since its foundation, Gordon & MacPhail’s policy has been to send casks to distilleries throughout Scotland, fill them with ‘new make’ spirit and mature them either at the distillery of origin or in the firm’s own bonded warehouses in Elgin.

    Now one of the world’s leading malt whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail exports to more than 55 countries and offers more than 300 presentations of own-bottled single malts. In 2009, Gordon & MacPhail was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

    In 1993. Gordon & MacPhail purchased Benromach Distillery and re-equipped it before it was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.

    Gordon & MacPhail is also one of the UK's leading independent specialist wholesalers and distributors, stocking over 4,500 products, including an extensive portfolio of wines, spirits and UK specialist beers and ciders.


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