13fc6a0d-e833-4e96-a70a-3cc3b601d3c7Just in case you are thinking of visiting the north of Scotland, whether on the new North Coast 500 route or you are planning a quick weekend away, you might like to know about some award-winning food and drinks in the area.

Fourteen food and drink businesses from across the Highlands, Islands and Cairngorms National Park are celebrating after winning in the region’s most prestigious food and drink awards.

The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards 2016 winners were announced at a sold-out ceremony at Inverness’ Kingsmills Hotel last night and presented by broadcaster Fred MacAulay.

Andrew Fraser Young Shining Star

In their twelfth year, the Awards recognise excellence across a range of categories, including Food and Drink Business Growth, Young Shining Star and Restaurant of the Year. A new Innovation Award was added this year in line with Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design.

With a strong focus on encouraging further growth and diversity in the industry, the awards celebrate the success of new start-ups like Juicy-Ness, winner of the Healthier Food & Drink Award, as well as recognising the continued achievements of established businesses like Tomatin Distillery, winner of Best Drink Award. One of the evening’s most prestigious awards, Ambassador of the Year, was presented to William Cameron of Cobbs Group, who has been in the industry for over 25 years.

High Life Highland awards 2015
Willie Cameron

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:  “The food and drink sector continues to be one of Scotland’s best success stories. Not only important to our economic growth, the sector provides significant social prosperity across our region, through a broad and diverse range of opportunities.

“The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are an important event in the calendar. It’s an evening to come together to recognise and celebrate our products and the passionate people who have embraced challenges and seized opportunities. Our congratulations go to the winners and runners-up who ensure the reputation of the Highlands and Islands’ larder is amongst the best in the world. ”

The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards launched in 2005 and have since represented some of the regions most celebrated food and drink businesses. The food and drink industry is integral to the Highlands and Islands, supporting around 30,000 full time jobs and generating in excess of £1 billion per year for the region.

Full details of all the awards can be found at  www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com.