Shetland Businesses Vie For Food And Drink Awards

by Alastair Hamilton -

Three Shetland food and drink businesses have come through to the final stages of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

All of the businesses nominated are young. Frankie's Fish and Chips, established in 2008 in the north mainland village of Brae, has already carried off many awards, including the best independent takeaway fish and chip shop in Scotland and the second-best in the UK. Frankie's is nominated in the "Scottish Sourcing" category.

Jay Hawkins and Dilys Evans moved to Shetland in 2008 and their Shetland Cheese company began producing a range of cheeses in the westside village of Skeld in 2010. In 2013, they won a Great Taste Award for one of their cheeses. Another picked up a Bronze Medal in the British Cheese Awards Best New Soft Cheese category. They've been nominated in the Dairy section.

Remarkably, the newest of the firms to win a nomination, the Lerwick Brewery, produced its first beer less than a year ago, in June 2013. Its flagship Pilsener lager, 60° North, has been confirmed as a finalist in the Best Alcoholic Drink category.

Graham Mercer, Lerwick Brewery's Distribution Manager, says: “60° North has been attracting a lot of attention recently from both reviewers and retailers and we are thrilled to be announced as a finalist in what is one of Scotland's leading awards. Whilst the craft beer market is full of emerging dark beers, there are less locally-brewed Pilseners coming on to the market. We seem to have hit the nail on the head with 60° North.”

The lager-style, 4.8% ABV beer, available in Shetland and elsewhere in the UK, is named after Shetland's latitude: the 60th parallel passes through Shetland's south mainland. Sold in a 330ml bottle, it has no isinglass, so is suitable for vegans; it's said to pair well with a variety of foods.

We wish all these businesses good luck when the awards are announced in Edinburgh on 22 May.

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