22nd September 2023
CC Chocolatier of Bower and North Point Distillery in Thurso win awards at the Caithness Chamber of Commerce 49th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony.
On Friday, September 15, 2023, guests gathered for the highly anticipated Caithness Chamber of Commerce 49th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony, held in the Norseman Hotel, Wick. This event holds a special place on the local business calendar, consistently drawing the region’s most influential business personalities every year.
An inspirational keynote address was given by Dr. Liz Cameron CBE, Director & Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and highly regarded as one of the most influential, informed and authentic business leaders within Scotland’s business community. In her speech Liz commended the invaluable work and commitment of the Caithness Chamber and its members, acknowledging the significant contribution made to Scotland’s voice for business at national and international level. The speech went on to acknowledge the North Highlands as a major powerhouse of Scotland’s transition to renewable energy and celebrated its diverse economy showcasing entrepreneurial excellence, in food, drink, manufacturing, engineering, space technologies and tourism.
Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce at the 49th Caithness Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner
It has been an incredibly turbulent year for businesses across the North Highlands, the dinner brought a welcome chance to connect, build relationships and celebrate the strength and resilience of the diverse North Highland business community.
Guests were treated to a surprise performance by the Singers Secreto’s singing waiters, who burst into the event and got everyone up on their feet to lively renditions of ‘500 Miles’, ‘Sweet Caroline’, ‘New York, New York’ and more.
The annual awards were introduced by longstanding patron of the Caithness Chamber, Rt. Hon. The Viscount Thurso, Lord Lieutenant for Caithness.
Winner of the Young Business Award in the Micro category, sponsored by West of Orkney Windfarm, was awarded to CC Chocolatier, founded in 2019 by Mandy Boydell, a former head chef at the Castle of Mey. The Bower-based business offers personalised chocolates, handmade gifts, and celebration cakes alongside signature chocolate-making and luxury afternoon tea experiences.
The young business was recognised for the quality and craftsmanship of its handmade products, using the finest of homemade and locally sourced ingredients to ensure the freshest and most authentic flavour and its unwavering commitment to excellence and continuous learning.
North Point Distillery was awarded the Young Business Winner in the SME category, sponsored by Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm. Established in 2020 by business partners Struan Mackie and Alex MacDonald, trading began on the 1st of October 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with one still, three members of staff and three products; a Cask Aged Rum, Spiced Rum and London Dry Gin.
From its base in Forss Business and Energy Park, the growing business has more than quadrupled production since 2020, with three stills registered, and a further still on the way. With over 32 awards to date, the business is going from strength to strength, the ambitious young distillery and its products have been internationally recognised for excellence in quality, design and sustainability. To date, North Point Distillery has secured over half a million pounds of inward investment into the Far North of Scotland, creating fourteen jobs within the first three years of trading and a commitment to adding new roles through apprenticeship and graduate programmes.
A huge thank you for generous contribution of the events sponsors, West of Orkney Windfarm, M2 Procurement & Commercial Services, Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm, Jacobs, JGC Engineering & Technical Services Ltd, Dounreay, The Caithness Collection and The Highland Council PSO.