The publishers of the News Letter, Morton Newspapers and Derry Journal are pulling all the stops out to make the NI Year of Food and Drink one to remember.

Johnston Press NI has launched its first ever major event to be branded under all of its titles – the Grow Make Eat Drink Awards.

The awards celebrate the pride Northern Ireland has in its produce and in the excellence and diversity of our fabulous food and drink industry.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in the Ramada Plaza, Belfast on Thursday August 11.

With 13 categories to choose from, the awards will give a real pat on the back to all those involved in the Northern Ireland food and drink sector.

Pacemaker press 20/05/2016 Grow make eat drink awards launch at the Belfast Met Titanic quarter. Pictured are  Pictured Michael Bell - Executive Director  NIFDA (NI Food & Drink Association) with Alistair Bushe and John Hood - Director of Food & Tourism Invest NI Picture Pacemaker press

Michael Bell – Executive Director NIFDA (NI Food & Drink Association) with News Letter Editor Alistair Bushe and John Hood – Director of Food & Tourism Invest NI. Picture by Pacemaker press

Whether you are a small food or drink producer, the organiser of a foodie festival or involved in the development of an innovative food / drink product, there is a category that you can enter.

There’s also the opportunity to praise both those who are starting out in the food and drink business, with a special award for the culinary student of the year, and those who have worked in the sector for a lengthy period of time, through a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards are also an excellent opportunity for sponsorship, and already a number of key sponsors have come on board, including Invest NI, Tourism NI, Food NI, Ramada Plaza and the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

John Hood, Food and Tourism Director, Invest NI said: “2016, our Year of Food and Drink, is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the pure, natural, quality of Northern Ireland’s produce.

“These awards give local companies of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their products and to promote their brands.  Northern Ireland has for many years been the UK’s best kept secret for food and drink and we should seize the opportunity to change that perception at home and outside of Northern Ireland.

“Our recent Taste of Northern Ireland promotion at Fortnum & Mason flagship store in London, and the Balmoral Show Food NI Food Pavilion proves that we have products to be proud of.  What better way to re-inforce that message than to enter this year’s Grow Make Eat Drink Awards.”

The closing date for entries is Monday, June 27.

For more details please contact Karen Fitzmaurice on 028 3839 5564 or email karen.fitzmaurice@jpress.co.uk or Julie Forde on 028 3839 5504 or email julie.forde@jpress.co.uk

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