Monday, 18 April 2016

Brú Brewery Wins Blacknight SME Awards Grand Prix

Brú Brewery, from Trim, County Meath, swept the boards at the Blacknight SME Awards last night in Cork, taking the prize in three categories, as well as the Grand Prix.

The three-year-old company was recognised for its innovation, winning ‘Best New Business (Non-Digital)’ as well as ‘Best New Product’ for its gluten-free lager.

They also topped the field in the main ‘Food & Drink’ category.

Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon presented the award to brewer Philip Markey, who explained that the business trophies will have to squeeze into an already crowded cabinet. The company has achieved international recognition for the quality of its product, winning gold, silver and bronze last year at the World Beer Awards.

The secret to their success? "Hard work and dedication - and the love of beer”, says Philip.

Over 80 companies were represented in the final shortlists, at the event held in Cork’s Radisson Blu Hotel, and hosted by RTÉ radio presenter Rick O’Shea.

Awards were presented in 15 categories, each carefully selected to showcase different aspects of Irish SMEs.

Kerry coffee shop “Bean in Dingle” took the award for ‘Under-30s Business’, and The Irish Biltong Company from Kildare won best ‘Family Run Business’. Axis arts centre in Ballymun won the ‘Community Minded’ category and the ‘Environmentally Minded’ award went to Cycle Inishowen, from County Donegal.

Three categories were devoted to new businesses. In addition to the ‘non-digital’ award won by Brú, there was a ‘New Business - Digital’ award won by Jamjou, a Kilkenny company working to make corporate training more engaging. Animation and post-production studio Ben & Anvil won the ‘New Business – Services’ award.

For the second year running, Sex Siopa took the award for ‘Online Retailer - Irish market’. The online export award went to Dingle Crystal. There was also a ‘mostly offline’ retail award, which was won by Ardkeen Quality Food Store from Waterford.

Last year’s Grand Prix winner, LearnUpon, took two awards this time. The online training company came first in the business-to-business category, and also took the award for customer engagement. Finally the ‘Company Transformation ’ award went to Keogh’s Crisps from Dublin.

The headline sponsor for the second year running was Blacknight, Ireland's largest provider of web hosting and domain names. Blacknight’s CEO Michele Neylon expressed his satisfaction at seeing the efforts of everyday SMEs recognised.

“These guys don’t get the publicity like major multinationals do - yet, they are the real lifeblood of the economy”, said Neylon. “60% - 70% of all people with jobs work in SMEs. As an Irish SME, serving other SMEs, this is our community and we’re delighted to help them celebrate tonight.”