Quadruple win for Angus businesses

Business Start Up Winner, Uan Wool. Pictured, from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Julie Hermitage, owner of Uan Wool; Alistair Anderson, Partner at Gillespie MacAndrew, category sponsor

Business Start Up Winner, Uan Wool. Pictured, from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Julie Hermitage, owner of Uan Wool; Alistair Anderson, Partner at Gillespie MacAndrew, category sponsor

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Three Angus businesses were celebrating after their success at the Scottish Rural Awards and Gala Dinner, taking away a total of four awards.

Arbikie Highland Estate at Inverkeilor emerged as winners of both the Business Diversification and Artisan Drink categories. 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.

Business Diversification Winner, Arbikie Highland Estate. Pictured, from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Stirling; Director of Arbikie; Patricia Watson of Clarendon Planning & Development, category sponsor

Business Diversification Winner, Arbikie Highland Estate. Pictured, from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Stirling; Director of Arbikie; Patricia Watson of Clarendon Planning & Development, category sponsor

Kirriemuir-based Uan Wool secured the top place in the Business Start Up category. Owner Julie Hermitage, who launched Uan’s range of natural wool pillows and cushions at the 2015 Royal Highland Show, initially started her business in order to find a solution to her young son’s sleeping troubles due to asthma.

Completing the set of quadruple wins was Iain R. Spink, whose Arbroath smokies have taken the top spot in the Artisan Food category.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Artisan Drink Winner, Arbikie Highland Estate. Pictured. from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Stirling, Director of Arbikie; Michael Whiteford, Buying Director at Aldi, category sponsor.

Artisan Drink Winner, Arbikie Highland Estate. Pictured. from left, are Fred MacAulay, compere; Iain Stirling, Director of Arbikie; Michael Whiteford, Buying Director at Aldi, category sponsor.