As the awards return for 2019, we need your help to recognise outstanding talent within the drinks industry

Our popular Food and Drink Awards, which sees Scotland’s top food and drink producers – as nominated by you – vie for the top prize across 13 categories, are set to return with a ­special event in Edinburgh this ­September.

To find the winners, we’re asking you, our readers, to nominate those ­businesses and individuals you believe are leading the field when it comes to pushing this exciting ­sector forward.

In this third year, we’ve changed the categories to be more reflective of the whole tapestry of Scotland’s food and drink businesses and not just the restaurant and bar scene. As a result, there are new awards aimed at the producers and companies that are making waves within the industry.

One of the various new categories, Scottish Food Product of the Year, will look at those exciting new foodstuffs that are tantalising tastebuds up and down the country and are winning you, our readers, over.

To qualify, the chosen product must be made and manufactured in Scotland and have proven popular between 2018 and 2019.

Another new category for the 2019 event will be Most Innovative New Product, which will celebrate new (or improved within the time frame) food and drink products that are shaking up the sector.

Finally, the Best Waste Management award will seek to shine a light on those establishments that have the environment at the heart of their business. For this category, we want to hear all about the restaurants leading the way in the environmental revolution.

One of our most popular awards from last year, Best Scottish Spirit, will be making a reappearance, with those gins, whiskies, vodkas and rums that deserve recognition for going the extra mile.

Last year, Aelder Elixir, which infuses wild Scottish elderberries with a host of Scottish botanicals and spices before blending with young Scottish whisky, took home the crown.

Organiser Rebecca Thompson said: “The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards have grown fantastic momentum and we are excited to have launched new categories this year to include all areas of the food and drink sector.

“We welcome nominations from our readers, as well as businesses who would like to put themselves forward to possibly be crowned at our 2019 event.”

The final ceremony will take place on Wednesday 25 September, at Brewhemia on Edinburgh’s Market Street and, in a departure from the usual sit-down meal, the awards will have a more relaxed, communal eating theme, giving finalists, guests and sponsors the opportunity to better connect throughout the night.

As part of this year’s event, The Scotsman will also be partnering with RBS to host our food and drink conference the day after our awards, with chair Stephen Jardine and a host of excellent speakers discussing the sectors, both at home and abroad, that are most valuable to the Scottish food and drink industry, and how recruitment and digitalisation will be vital to securing their growth in the future.

Between 250 and 300 delegates are expected to attend the day-long event, entitled Without Boundaries – Scotland’s Future in the Food and Drink Industry, at RBS Gogarburn on 26 September.

With just two weeks until the deadline of 13 August, there is still ­plenty of time to nominate for both of these categories, or indeed, any of the 13, which also include Best Use of ­Scottish Produce, Best Scottish Spirit and Your Hidden Gem.

• To nominate your favourite, head over to our dedicated awards website: www.scotsmanfoodanddrinkawards.co.uk

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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