The Co-founder of a global brand which has turned an everyday cooking ingredient into a superstar was recognised as the 2023 Wales Food and Drink Awards Outstanding Contribution recipient.
Alison Lea-Wilson MBE, of Halen Môn was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award at the national Wales Food and Drink Awards held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, and was honoured along with 16 other deserved winners from all over Wales, at the black-tie ceremony.
Some of the most innovative and creative food and drink producers in Wales were celebrated at the second Wales Food and Drink Awards, which were held in North Wales on the 18th May 2023.
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 finalists were recognised 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.
Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths said:
“Wales has some of the best food and drink products in the world and it’s important we celebrate this.
“The awards highlighted the diversity of the sector, along with the successes of scaling up, creating jobs, and being an inspiration to others.
“I was delighted to be able to join the winners and nominees and many congratulations to you all!”
The judging panel was chaired by Bob Clark of BC Investment. 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 for us to want to support these important awards which showcases that. It was a pleasure to meet so many people who are passionate about their products during the extremely competitive judging process.”
The Wales Food and Drink Awards were created by founders Liz Brookes, Director, Grapevine Event Management and Broadcaster, Sian Lloyd. They were sponsored and supported by; Ambition North Wales, BC Investment, BIC Innovation, Castell Howell, Cambrian Training, Cywain, Business News Wales, Food Innovation Wales, Hugh James, Industry Wales, Kilsby Williams, Levercliff, Menter Môn, Polytag, S4C, Stills, Village Bakery, Visit Conwy and Wales Food and Drink Industry Board.
Liz Brookes said:
“It has been fantastic to bring the Awards to North Wales and to be able to celebrate the array of passionate food and drink producers we have in Wales and I congratulate all of them on their achievements”.
Sian Lloyd said:
“While producing delicious food and drink of exceptionally high quality, many of the stories behind these businesses are inspirational. It was exciting to see even more businesses take part this year and we are already looking forward to the 2024 Awards! Llongyfarchiadau pawb!”
The winners of the Wales Food and Drink Awards 2023 are:
Wales Food and Drink Artisan Business of the Year – Conwy Kombucha
Wales Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year – Betina Skovbro from Brød – The Danish Bakery
Wales Food and Drink Business Resilience Award – Bragdy Twt Lol – The Trefforest Brewery
Wales Food and Drink Local Community Award – Barry Sidings Café
Wales Food and Drink Rising Star Award – Ioan Dillon from LEAN Kitchen
Wales Food and Drink Small Drinks Producer of the Year- Velfrey Vineyard
Wales Food and Drink, Drinks Producer of the Year – Radnor Hills
Wales Food and Drink Champion of the Year – Dylan’s Restaurant
Wales Food and Drink Exporter of the Year – AU Vodka
Wales Food and Drink Food Producer of the Year – South Caernarfon Creameries
Wales Food and Drink Start-up of the Year – Ground Bakery
Wales Food and Drink Innovation Award – Just Love Food Company
Wales Food and Drink Scale-Up Business of the Year – Hilltop
Wales Food and Drink Sustainable Business of the Year – Bluestone Brewing Company
Wales Food and Drink Apprentice of the Year – Samuel Davies from Puffin Produce
Wales Food and Drink Farm to Fork Producer – Swans Farm Shop
Wales Food and Drink Apprentice of the Year- Cameron Roberts from Tinworks Brewery
Wales Food and Drink Artisan Business of the Year – Black Mountains Smokery
Wales Food and Drink Exporter of the Year – Welsh Lady Preserves
Wales Food and Drink Champion of the Year – The Blaenafon Cheddar Company
Wales Food and Drink Rising Star Award – Jan Saliba from Kepak
Wales Food and Drink Rising Star Award – Sabrina Khan from Maasi’s Cardiff
Wales Food and Drink Start-up of the Year – Patisserie Verte
Wales Food and Drink Sustainable Business of the Year – Dolwen Welsh Lamb and Beef
Outstanding Contribution Award – Alison Lea-Wilson MBE, Co-founder Halen Môn
Further details of the Wales Food and Drink Awards, which will return in 2024, can be found on the website: www.foodanddrinkawards.wales