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Scottish rural awards success for food and drinks businesses

Published: April 1, 2016
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Iain R. Spink took away the top position in the Artisan Food category for his original Arbroath smokies, closely followed by runners-up Golspie Mill in Sutherland and Wigtown-based Galloway Chillies, who were awarded a Highly Commended.

Artisan Food Winner, Iain R. Spink's Original Smokies from Arbroath. Pictured L-R - Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Spink; Willie Gill, Chairman of The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, category sponsor. Picture: Angus Blackburn

Artisan Food Winner, Iain R. Spink's Original Smokies from Arbroath. Pictured L-R - Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Spink; Willie Gill, Chairman of The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, category sponsor. Picture: Angus Blackburn

Arbikie Highland Estate, home of chilli vodka and blueberry gin, was awarded the top position in the Artisan Drink category. Run by brothers John, Iain and David Stirling, Arbikie impressed the judging panel with its strong portfolio of craft spirits, including vodka, chilli vodka, and the blueberry-infused Kirsty's Gin, named after the company's master distiller Kirsty Black.

Runner-up in the Artisan Drink category was the Black Isle Brewery, with Fraserburgh-based Summerhouse Drinks winning the Highly Commended.

The award winners fended off competition from other high-profile finalists, including NB Gin, Balgove Larder and Inverawe Smokehouse.

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The event, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, is the culmination of a second year of partnership between Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, which celebrate the innovation, dedication and enterprise of those living and working in rural Scotland.

Comedian Fred MacAulay took to the stage as compere for the evening, with his audience of 400 including representatives from the award sponsors, including Aldi and the Bank of Scotland.

Over 200 nominations have been received since the awards opened to the public last September, spanning the Outer Hebrides to the Borders, and Shetland to Fife.

Judging took place at the end of January to select a winner, runner-up and highly commended in each of the ten open award categories, encompassing every aspect of rural life, from aquaculture to agriculture, tourism and food and drink.

Richard Bath, Scottish Field's editor and a Scottish Rural Awards judge, said: "Showing our readers the joys of the Scottish countryside is one of the main aims of Scottish Field, so our partnership in the awards is a perfect fit.

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"I was amazed by the quality and attention to detail showed by the nominees across each category."

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