Saturday, 23rd June 2018
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On Friday last during National Enterprise Week, Blackwater Distillery has been announced as the winner of the Waterford final of the National Enterprise Awards 2018.

Over the last number of weeks, the five Waterford finalists have undergone a testing process of presentations, interviews and discussions on their businesses with a panel of expert business persons acting as the Waterford awards judges.

Founder of Blackwater Distillery Peter Mulryan was today presented with a specially commissioned award, monetary prizes by the Mayor of Waterford Councillor Pat Nugent, Peter will now go forward to represent Waterford in the National Finals and compete against 31 winning firms from around the country.

Blackwater Distillery is a micro-distillery situated on the banks of the Blackwater River, just outside Cappoquin in beautiful West Waterford. The distillery offers three Blackwater products currently on the Irish market, the flagship brand Blackwater No.5 Gin, Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin and Blackwater Juniper Cask Gin. They also make Blackwater Pot Still Vodka for export to Finland. They own and make the Boyle’s Gin brand which ALDI have the rights to sell exclusively in the Republic of Ireland and have also created Woulfe’s Vodka, Dolmen Poitin and Boyles Sloe & Damson Gin for ALDI. Boyle’s Gin was successfully introduced to ALDI UK for Christmas 2017 and will be stocked again in 2018. They have developed two new gins for Iceland UK with Towpath Gin already on sale in their premium Food Warehouse stores in England. To celebrate beginning building work on their new distillery in Ballyduff, they have launched an Irish Whisky brand called Retronaut and they expect to open the new premises in mid-2018.

The National Enterprise Awards celebrate the achievements of Ireland’s top small businesses and micro-enterprises from all parts of Ireland in a showcase of enterprise, innovation and ambition. The National Enterprise Awards were introduced in 1997 and recognise the contribution that small businesses make to the Irish economy. Aimed at companies that have received Local Enterprise Office supports to aid their growth, the National Enterprise Awards are facilitated through the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices.

Speaking at the ceremony, Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at the Waterford Local Enterprise, paid tribute to all the applicants and finalists, saying: "As the first stop shop for entrepreneurs and small businesses, it is heartening to see a growing and vibrant community of entrepreneurs locally. The Judges spoke highly of the standard but also commented on the number of applicants and finalists who had worked in sectors all across the world but who made a conscious decision to return to their native Waterford to establish their own successful businesses.".

The Awards were presented by Mayor Nugent, who said: "This process has left us in no doubt as to the quality of entrepreneur we have here in Waterford. These innovative businesses are led by people who are serious about their ambition, and we are delighted to be part of their support system for the future."

In total five Waterford based businesses were shortlisted for the county final, these include Blackwater Distillery, BEIBHINN the Ethical Womenswear label specialising in Irish Linen and Merino Wool. With all the pieces are made to order by Bébhínn McGrath. Partyrock Travel an events management company who create tailor-made Sports, Clubbing, Festival, Hen & Stag and Eco-Tourism packages for events in Ireland and throughout the World. Prolines, Ireland’s only independent chartered Naval Architects offering vessel design, marine surveying and flag state requirement solutions for both new and existing vessels from their offices in Waterford. Prolines sells design work to Irish and international clients serving both the commercial and leisure sectors. And Hightower painting products, a unique and innovative tripod and roller bucket system that is extendable in height and moveable. This allows for a safer, faster and hassle-free painting process at both ground level and at a height.

The National Enterprise Awards Final will take place in the Mansion House, Dublin on the 24th May 2018. For further details see http://www.localenterprise.ie/waterford

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