Drinks get BBC awards slot

Drinks producers are to get their own category in the BBC’s highly respected Food & Farming Awards.

The growing number and quality of entries from drinks producers into the Food Producer section in recent years had made it clear that “it really does need its own category”, Food Programme producer Dan Saladino told DrinkBritain.com.

Last year for example, the pioneering Julian Temperley, of the Somerset Cider & Brandy Company struck such a chord that, although he didn’t win the Food Producer accolade, he did receive a Special Judges Award.

Having said that, new categories don’t happen very often. With ten at the moment, before this year the last to be created was for the Best Food Market in 2007.

Entries are invited across the full range of drinks, Saladino says. So, if you know an “inspirational” brewer, wine maker or distiller, or cider producer or juice-maker, either nominate them yourself or suggest they put themselves forward.

Competition is tough, with some categories receiving up to 4-500 entries. Nominations should be made online by 15 August. As well as covering the products and what makes them special, entrants are asked to describe the business and its links with the community.

Angela Hartnett is to chair the 12-strong judging panel, to be announced in the coming weeks. The judges whittle down entries to three for each category. Those shortlisted are visited by a pair of judges dedicated to that category. They report back to the full panel, who decide on the final winners, to be announced on November 12.

So, if you know anyone who should be considered, make sure they put the August deadline in their diaries.

And if it's you who's entering, good luck!

Entries can be made at the Food Programme's dedicated website.