Some of the most innovative and creative food and drink producers in Wales have been celebrated at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards, which were held in Cardiff on 13th May 2022.
From established companies who have become household names to small start-ups, the business awards were set up to celebrate and showcase the best food and drink producers in Wales, whatever their size.
At a gala dinner and awards ceremony held at the Mercure Hotel, finalists were applauded for their new and exciting ideas, their growth and resilience. Businesses had been shortlisted in a range of categories, to reflect the diverse nature of what is a key sector in the Welsh economy and one that has gained a global reputation for excellence.
The winning businesses came from every part of Wales and ranged from sustainably sourced seafood to vegan energy gels.
The judging panel was chaired by Robin Jones, MD of Wrexham based, award-winning Village Bakery. He said:
“The judging was incredibly tough because the standard in every single category was absolutely exceptional – and with so many entries it was very difficult to shortlist.
I was blown away by the passion of the producers and their innovation as well as their resilience and ingenuity over the past couple of years. I would like to congratulate all of them because they are a credit to themselves and a credit to Wales.”
The Wales Food and Drink Awards were supported by headline sponsor Castell Howell Foods, one of the UK’s leading independent food wholesalers.
Kathryn Jones, from Castell Howell, said:
“Our Welsh Food sector is an important contributor to our economy and social fabric; therefore, it was natural that we supported an event that recognises businesses who have excelled in recent years, especially during and post the Covid pandemic”
The inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards were launched earlier this year by founders Liz Brookes, Director, Grapevine Event Management and Broadcaster, Sian Lloyd. They were sponsored by; Castell Howell, Cambrian Training, the Culinary Association of Wales, Cywain, Business News Wales, Department of International Trade, Food Innovation Wales, HSBC, Hugh James, Hybu Cig Cymru, Menter Môn, Stills, Village Bakery, Wales Food and Drink Industry Board.
Liz Brookes said “To see everyone come together for a night of celebration after what has been the most challenging couple of years, was amazing. Wales has such an array of passionate food and drink producers and I congratulate all of them on their achievements”.
Sian Lloyd said “ As a life-long fan of Welsh food and drink it has been fascinating to gain a better understanding of this hugely creative and essential sector. Businesses entered from every corner of Wales and the passion for their products shone through. Many of the stories behind these businesses are inspirational and with such a high standard of entries I'm very relieved that my role was to host the ceremony rather than judge the awards! Congratulations to all.”
The winners of the Wales Food and Drink Awards 2022 are:
Wales Food and Drink Start-Up Business of the Year - Do Goodly Foods
Wales Food and Drink Local Community Award - Tiny Rebel
Wales Food and Drink Covid-19 Resilience Award - In the Welsh Wind Distillery
Wales Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year – Danny Curtis, Lobster & Môr
Wales Food and Drink Rising Star Award - Charlotte Clark, Pembrokeshire Gin Company
Wales Food and Drink Drinks Producer of the Year - Coaltown
Wales Food and Drink Exporter of the Year - The Lobster Pot
Wales Food and Drink Food Producer of the Year - Llaeth y Llan - Village Dairy
Wales Food and Drink Innovation Award - Vala Energy
Wales Food and Drink Apprentice of the Year – Ben Roberts -M. E. Evans Ltd
Wales Food and Drink Artisan Business of the Year -Caws Tefi
Wales Food and Drink Scale-Up Business of the Year - Hilltop Honey
Wales Food and Drink Sustainable Business of the Year - The Gower Gin Company
Start Up Business of the Year - Old Farmhouse Brewery Ltd.
Local Community Award - MamGu Welshcakes
Covid-19 Resilience Award - Bang on Brewery
Entrepreneur of the Year- Michael Beynon, Coalpit Welsh Cakes
Rising Star Award- Lauren Price, Kepak
Exporter of the Year - AU Vodka
Food Producer of the Year - The Authentic Curry Company
Apprentice of the Year – Joseph Hembrough, The Menai Seafood Company
Artisan Business of the Year - Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm
Scale-Up Business of the Year - Lilo's Pasta
Sustainable Values Award - Pembrokeshire Lamb
Drinks Producer of the Year - Cotteswold Dairy
Innovation of the Year - Daffodil Foods
Wales Food and Drink Champion of the Year Colin Gray, Capital Cuisine
Lifetime Achievement Award - Brian Jones MBE, Castell Howell
Further details of the Wales Food and Drink Awards, which will return in 2023, can be found on the website https://foodanddrinkawards.wales/