Stone Businesses scooped some of the top awards at two prestigious awards ceremonies last month.
Friday, 20th October saw movers and shakers of the Staffordshire culinary scene attend a glittering ceremony at Lichfield Cathedral to mark the NFU Mutual Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards 2017. Stone Food & Drink Festival Chairman Richard Stevens was awarded a special Recognition within the Industry award, and local brewers Lymestone Brewery bagged Brewery of the Year award.
In addition to acknowledging Richard’s hard work as a volunteer director since the festival started some 12 years ago, the award also recognised his commitment to helping put Stone – and indeed Staffordshire – firmly on the foodie map; notably his work on other events including the Stafford Cheese & Ale Festival, Sandon Spring Fair and the Demonstration Kitchen at Staffordshire County Show.
Richard attended the award ceremony with his wife Janet and several fellow festival team members – but he had no idea where the evening would lead, as he explains: “I attended the award ceremony under the impression that it was the festival as a whole that was a finalist in one of the categories – I genuinely had no idea that it would be an award to recognise my personal input. I am truly humbled by this honour and it means a huge amount to be recognised within an industry I am so passionate about. I would like to thank Taste of Staffordshire and NFU Mutual for bestowing the honour, and also all of my fellow directors and volunteers for the Stone Food & Drink Festival as without their hard work the event just couldn’t happen.”
“I’d also like to thank Janet for her patience and support – especially on those days when the festival workload is particularly heavy. There was talk around the dinner table at home of my retiring as Chairman in 2018, but that would seem rather churlish now – so I won’t be going anywhere!”
With the 2017 Stone Food & Drink Festival attracting record crowds of over 18,000 over the three days plans are already in motion for the 2018 event, which will take place on the 5th, 6th & 7th October next year.
The black tie event was attended by 140 people, who enjoyed a three-course meal prepared by McKenzie’s Restaurant in Lichfield, and canapes from Liam Dillon, head chef patron at Lichfield’s The Boat Inn.
Meanwhile, Lymestone Brewery are celebrating their Taste of Staffordshire Award, along with the Barry Underwood Award at the CAMRA Stoke Beer Festival for services to real ale, brewing and pubs, winning both accolades within the space of 48hrs!
“We had an incredible weekend,” said Viv Bradford, a Director at the Stone-based brewery. “Taste of Staffordshire is a wonderful organisation which promotes excellence across food and drink producers and retailers throughout our county and we are proud members. The award was particularly pleasing as it involves mystery shoppers. We take pride in striving to make sure every customer gets excellence service and quality products and it is good to see we came out on top in independent tests. Staffordshire is renowned for its brewing prowess and to be crowned Brewery of the Year is a wonderful reward for our team at the brewery and pubs.
“We are also delighted to receive the Barry Underwood Award. CAMRA members are incredibly knowledgeable and receiving their support is a mark of high quality. Barry Underwood was a leading light in the early days of CAMRA in North Staffordshire and it was an honour for us to pick up the award from his daughter, Simone.”
Lymestone was founded nine years ago by Ian and Viv Bradford. The brewery, based at Mount Road, Stone, employs six people at the brewery and has three pubs, the Lymestone Vaults, Newcastle-under-Lyme, the Borehole, a stone’s throw away from the brewery in Mount Road, Stone, and the Quiet Woman, Leek, which was opened by Lymestone earlier this year. The Lymestone Vaults was also recognised by CAMRA at the Stoke Beer Festival, held at Fenton Manor, Stoke-on-Trent.
The full list of winners for the Taste of Staffordshire Awards:
Afternoon Tea of the Year
Winner: The Red Lion, Bradley
Finalist: Netherstowe House, Lichfield
Finalist: Springslade Lodge, Cannock Chase
Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Rainbow International
Winner: The Three Horseshoes Country Inn, Leek
Finalist: The Red Lion, Bradley
Finalist: Greenway Hall Golf Club, Stockton Brook
Independent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Porsche Wolverhampton
Winner: The Four Seasons Restaurant at Swinfen Hall Hotel, Lichfield
Finalist: The Winery, Burton upon Trent
Finalist: Pom’s Kitchen & Deli, Lichfield
Farm Shop of the Year, sponsored by NFU
Winner: Essington Fruit Farm Shop, South Staffordshire
Finalist: Canalside Farm Shop, Great Haywood
Finalist: Denstone Hall Farm Shop, Denstone
Tea Room & Coffee Shop of the Year
Winner: Pom’s Kitchen & Deli, Lichfield
Finalist: Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Café, Denstone
Finalist: Springslade Lodge, Cannock Chase
Public House of the Year, sponsored by Majestic Wines
Winner: The Sun Inn, Stafford
Finalist: The White Star, Stoke-on-Trent
Finalist: The Stafford Arms, Bagnall
Drinks Manufacturer of the Year
Winner: Nelson’s Gin, Uttoxeter
Finalist: Clive’s Wines, Burntwood
Food Processor, Producer or Distributor of the Year, sponsored by SBS Insurance
Winner: Essington Fruit Farm, South Staffordshire
Brewery of the Year, sponsored by Marston’s Brewery
Winner: Lymestone Brewery, Stone
Finalist: Slater’s Ale, Stafford
Specialist Food & Drink Retailer of the Year
Winner: Hasbean Coffee, Stafford
Industry Ambassador Special Award, sponsored by Porsche Wolverhampton
Winner: Keith Bott MBE, Titanic Brewery, Stoke-on-Trent
Special Award for Recognition within the Industry, sponsored by The Boat Inn, Lichfield
Winner: Richard Stevens, Chair of Stone Food & Drink Festival