Two Orkney spirits producers are raising a glass to celebrate a series of exciting award wins.
The Deerness Distillery and the Orkney Gin Company have claimed top spot in three categories at the Great British Food Awards, which saw products judged by celebrity chefs, critics, food writers and buyers.
Deerness Distillery’s ‘Into the Wild’ was named Best Vodka by chef Richard Bainbridge. He described it as a ‘delicious vodka’ with ‘a clean, crisp and refreshing finish with a beautiful hint of citrus’.
The distillery’s ‘Orcadian Moon’ coffee liqueur won the Other Spirits category, with wine buyer and drinks expert Charlie Stein praising it as ‘pure and elegant’, with ‘a delicious and intense hit of coffee’.
It’s the second year of success in the awards for the distillery – its ‘Sea Glass Gin’ was named best classic gin in 2019.
Stuart Brown from the Deerness Distillery said: “With 2020 having been such a tough year, winning these awards has been amazing for our team. It gives us confidence that our products are amongst the best in the UK.
“A lot of hard work, testing and sampling goes into each product and to pick up two awards in such competitive sections is outstanding.”
The Orkney Gin Company was named winner in the Flavoured Gin section, with its Rhubarb Old Tom attracting the attention of baker and food writer, Martha Collison. She said it was ‘simply outstanding and probably the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying’.
It has been a successful few months for the family-run business – its Orkney Akvavit won a Masters Award in the Spirits Business Luxury Masters 2020, the highest award available. The spirit was launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in March and has been warmly received by buyers around the country.
Gary Watt from the Orkney Gin Company said: “Our Akvavit is a Scottish first so we were keen to enter it in some prestigious awards, but we could never have imagined just how well it would be received.
“Awards like these gives ourselves and our customers confidence in our products, and also helps highlight the quality of Orkney’s produce, across food, drink and crafts.”
The Great British Food Awards see submitted entries taste-tasted and awarded scores based on taste and provenance. A shortlist is then sampled by a panel of celebrity experts who pick their category favourites and two highly commended products.
The Promoting Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.