Rural companies join the best of the best for awards

Arbikie Vodka is one of three companies to make it to the awards finals.

Arbikie Vodka is one of three companies to make it to the awards finals.

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Three Angus businesses have make it to the finals of prestigious awards which recognise the best Scotland’s countryside has to offer.

Arbikie Highland Estate at Inverkeilor has been shortlisted in the Scottish Rural Awards’ Artisan Drink category, while Ogilvy Spirits, near Glamis, has made the finals of both the Artisan Drink and Conservation and the Environment categories. Joining them is SoilEssentials Ltd, based at Hilton of Fern, which has been shortlisted in the Agriculture category.

Now in their third year the awards partnered by Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance and backed by a number of sponsors are the ultimate benchmark of success in the countryside, highlighting the enterprise, skill and innovation of those who live and work in rural areas.

The shortlist spans 10 categories which celebrate all aspects of rural life, from artisan food and tourism, to education, conservation and agriculture.

More than 200 nominations for businesses were made since the beginning of August from locations as diverse as the Outer Hebrides and Borders, Shetland to Fife.

A winner, runner-up and highly commended in each category will be announced at a dinner on Thursday, March 16 at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

Those who have made special contributions to the countryside will also be honoured with the Rural Hero Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

Richard Bath, editor of Scottish Field, said: “More than ever before, Scotland’s rural communities are displaying a quite remarkable amount of energy, innovation and imagination as they diversify existing businesses and create new and exciting opportunities from scratch.

“As a magazine we are constantly writing about the rural entrepreneurs who are bringing wealth and jobs to the countryside, so it’s exciting for us to be able to honour the men and women who are doing so much to make the economy of rural Scotland a true success story.”

Jamie Stewart, Scottish Countryside Alliance director, also commended businesses for their ingenuity.

He said: “These awards give Scotland a chance to recognise the resilience, innovation and contribution that rurally-based people and businesses make to its success.”