Fusion Whisky lifts ‘Success Through Partnership’ Award

Success Through Partnership

The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards were presented last week at a glittering ceremony attended by over 820 guests. 

The ‘Success Through Partnership’ award is sponsored by SAOS and this year’s winner is Fusion Whisky. Chef and TV personality, Simon Rimmer (left) who hosted the awards, is pictured with Alex Bruce and David Moore of Fusion Whisky, and George Lawrie, SAOS Chairman (far right) who presented the award.

Fusion Whisky Ltd produces a series of premium fusion whiskies that are an innovative marriage of blending and branding; a product of unique collaborations between distilleries in Scotland and other countries.  Formed in partnership with Fife-based Adelphi Distillery Ltd, Fusion Whisky’s premium blends are created with Scotch and whisky sourced from international distilleries (Hanyu Distillery in Japan and Amrut Distillery in India to date).  Branding for the innovative blending concept is centred on the story of iconic Scots and their positive influence internationally, with a focus on the countries from which the whisky is sourced.

The 25 category winners spanned the whole of the sector, with other winners including; Liam Pennycook of Strathearn Distillery for ‘Young Talent’, l’escargot restaurants owned by Chef Fred Berkmiller for ‘Scottish Sourcing’, Paterson Arran Ltd for ‘Environmental Sustainability’, Peelham Farm Produce for ‘Meat’, and Mara Seaweed for ‘Healthy Choice’.

Special recognition was awarded for Product of the Year (Whisky Nibs from Chocolate Tree), Business of the Year (Bruce Farms) and Outstanding Contribution (Alastair Dobson, Taste of Arran).

James Withers, CEO Scotland Food & Drink, said: ”Congratulations to all winners. With the new food and drink strategy, ‘Ambition 2030’ we are aiming to double the industry’s worth to the value of £30 billion by 2030, so it was fantastic to see new start-ups as well as established businesses come out on top. The industry is constantly growing, but there is always room for young pioneers, innovative products and enterprising businesses, and it’s this that will help us achieve Ambition 2030.

“Scotland is home to some of the most innovative producers and these awards give us the chance to celebrate this. Thanks to all those who entered this year, and I hope to see you back there next year.”

More details and the full list of award winners can be found at: http://www.scotlandfoodanddrink.org/news/article-info/7512/scotlands-cream-of-the-crop-crowned-at-top-food-and-drink-awards.aspx


Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards – Success Through Partnership finalists

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Things are hotting up as the annual Scotland Food & Drink Excellence awards presentation dinner draws closer (the event will be held at the EICC on the 18th of May).  SAOS is once again sponsoring the  Success Through Partnership Award, which was won last year by Aldi and The Natural Fruit & Beverage Company.

We’ve had entries from some great partnerships again this year, and our finalists are:



Scotty Brand: 

The opportunity for Scotty Brand arose when the Albert Bartlett team identified a gap in the market for branded Scottish produce.  The Rooster potato had been a great success as a branded potato and the team realised that Scotland has huge potential for further branded produce, but neither the Rooster nor the Albert Bartlett brands could credibly stretch to cover a range of non-potato products.  Working alone, the company would be limited to supplying potatoes, but working in collaboration allowed the company to offer a broad range of Scottish products, which has opened up new opportunities with retailers.  It was logical to team up with partners who were experts in growing other products in Scotland and Scotty Brand was identified as the ideal umbrella brand for the consortium.

From its beginnings in primary produce with 4 SKUs (“stock keeping unit” – each individual item is given a unique code) the Scotty Brand portfolio has expanded to encompass prepared fresh produce, ambient, meat, bakery and prepared soups and almost 30 SKUs.  It now has a range of products which sits across multiple categories, giving year round presence in the major retailers.  The strategic fit is strong – Scotty Brand provides the sales and marketing expertise; the partners provide the product expertise.

Fusion Whisky:

Fusion Whisky Ltd produces a series of premium fusion whiskies that are an innovative marriage of blending and branding; a product of unique collaborations between distilleries in Scotland and other countries.  Formed in partnership with Fife-based Adelphi Distillery Ltd, Fusion Whisky’s premium blends are created with Scotch and whisky sourced from international distilleries (Hanyu Distillery in Japan and Amrut Distillery in India to date).  Branding for the innovative blending concept is centred on the story of iconic Scots and their positive influence internationally, with a focus on the countries from which the whisky is sourced.

The Bay Fish and Chips:

The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven has a strong partnership with Compass Group UK and Ireland for the distribution of the bespoke Bay Batter and Bay Fishcake. The partnership began with the distribution of The Bay Batter to the Compass Group’s ESS Offshore units in the North Sea. Compass focuses on top quality produce, traceability and supports health and wellbeing.  Bay Batter is a high quality product, produced without any colourings or additives, driving the healthy agenda.  It was never about just securing a contract with Compass, it was about maintaining a long-term relationship and this meant going the extra mile, providing offshore and army barracks training for chefs in how to use the product and attending showcases in London.   Now entering into the third year of its partnership with Compass, The Bay Fish and Chips is concentrating on getting its Bay Fishcake into every Compass sector, alongside The Bay Batter.

Co-op Learning Opportunity: Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices

We’d like to draw attention to a great co-operative learning opportunity for our co-op members. Run by St Mary’s University of Halifax, Canada in conjunction with the Co-operative College and Sheffield Hallam University and hosted by the Co-operative Group, this three-day Executive Education Course takes place in Manchester in May 2017.

SAOS’ Deputy Chief Exec, Bob Yuill (who is an alumnus of St Mary’s), will be taking part in one of the panel discussions during the course.


Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices: How to Strengthen Identity, Loyalty and Participation

About the course:
An interactive professional development opportunity focused on leading thinking in co-operative management coupled with tangible examples of how to translate knowledge into action. We encourage senior managers, CEOs and board members to join us for this learning and networking event.

Date and Location:
May 17-19, 2017 (Manchester, UK) – in partnership with the Co-operative College and Sheffield Hallam University and hosted by the Co-operative Group


  • Coffee and pastries in the morning, health breaks, and lunches are included.
  • Day 1 (evening): A complimentary group dinner will be hosted at a local restaurant for all course participants.

Some course fee subsidies are available on the basis of financial need.

The course content is enriched through the partnership among Saint Mary’s University, the Co-operative College, and Sheffield Hallam University:

  • Get yourself into gear with context setting including a historical perspective on the co-operative movement and model combined with how current day co-operative enterprises fits within a wider social solidarity economy.
  • Learn how to manage the co-operative equilibrium. The focus is placed on a model that captures the uniqueness of co-operative organizations, building on the dual nature of a member’s usership and ownership. We will address issues of core values and their purpose, the co-operative business model, and balanced scorecard to lead into discussion of a co-operative equilibrium. Emphasis is placed on the alignment from co-op values to key performance indicators. Cases of cooperatives successfully managing partially or totally this equilibrium will be discussed.
  • Move from a potential identity crisis to the New Co-operative Paradigm (NCP). The traditional co-operative model is being challenged leading to an identity crisis. A model to better understand this reality will be introduced, taking into consideration both co-operative rules and market rules. In response to this state of crisis, a NCP is being proposed, showing how the emerging market rules can be of great advantage to co-operatives. Examine case studies and deep dive into implementation success stories such as the customer orientation strategy.
  • Gain exposure to emerging concepts in the field of management and governance in the context of co-operative enterprises. Explore the theory on new types of co-operative business (e.g. social and solidarity co-operatives). This course will provide you with tools to better understand the existing culture in your co-operative along with techniques that promote engaged participation by members.
  • Course Facilitators/Instructors: Daniel Côté and Karen Miner in all locations and the addition of Rory Ridley-Duff, Cilla Ross, and Simon Parkinson in Manchester UK.

Executives in Residence: Guest presenters will provide additional diversity into the course content to complement the expertise of the course instructors and participants.

For more information go to www.ManagementStudies.coop or contact Erin Hancock at cme@smu.ca



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Hot off the press! SAOS Spring Update

The SAOS Spring Update reports on our conference and provides members’ news and our own work. Printed copies are heading out this week, or get a sneak preview here:

You can view our other SAOS Updates here.


Positive Response to SAOS Proposals to Align Farming Policy with Supply Chains

SAOS received positive responses from both the Scottish and UK Governments to proposals for stronger alignment of farming and supply chain policy and strategy after the UK leaves the EU. If adopted, co-operation, collaboration and innovation would be incentivised in farming and supply chains, helping to improve market responsiveness and increase competitiveness. The proposals were sent to Scottish Government ministers Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity; Mike Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe; David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland; and George Eustice MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

James Graham, SAOS Chief Executive, said: “The prospect of a new agriculture policy provides an excellent opportunity to correct some of the things that we feel have constrained the expansion of co-operation across more of Scotland’s farming. It is clear in the responses from government Ministers, and in follow-up discussions, that our vision of better-organised farmers working together to meet the supply chain and drive farm innovation is being fully considered, along with the policy measures that would generate the kind of changes that are required.” Some of the most important proposals are detailed below. The full text of SAOS’ submission to the Scottish Government can be viewed here: Leaving the EU – Submission of Views to Scottish Government .

Incentivising Innovation and Co-operation
SAOS has proposed that agriculture policy should provide for funding to Producer Organisations across all sectors of agriculture to support innovation programmes. This method of stimulating innovation has been used to good effect in the fruit and vegetable sectors, leading to the introduction of new farming systems and supply chain processes. Approved ‘operational programmes’ designed by each PO attract grant at a rate of either 50%, or equivalent to 4.1%, of the value of marketed produce. James Graham states: “This sets a precedent and exemplar for how to channel and target grant funds to agriculture in future.”

A Legal Right for Farmers to Negotiate Collectively
A legally-backed obligation should be introduced on large scale buyers of farm crops and livestock to recognise the right of farmers to negotiate terms collectively with them, when organised in appropriate forms of producer organisation or co-operative. The possibility of farmers collectively and co-operatively negotiating with buyers has been denied in important sectors where there is imbalance in negotiating positions, closing off opportunities for fairer terms and increased transparency. According to James Graham: “The absence of a legally-backed obligation is acting as a constraint to supply chain improvements. This might be achieved by extending the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to the trading relationships between farmers and large scale buyers, backed by powers to review and impose sanction where poor practice is found to be evident.”

Link Capital Grants with Supply Chain Improvement
An obligation to engage in supply chain improvement programmes including the primary sector should be a condition of all grant awards where Scottish primary produce is to be used in the resulting plant and processes. James Graham continues: “This would enhance the alignment of strategy amongst the primary and food manufacturing sectors. Every supply chain improvement programme we have facilitated has yielded commercial benefits for all involved. We need to encourage more.” The current SRDP Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Grant scheme enables critically important investment to proceed, helping to mitigate investment risk and reduce investment pay-back times.

Co-operate for Farm Resilience
Expert knowledge and facilitation should be available to continue innovation for greater farming resilience through co-operation. According to James Graham: “Agricultural co-operation delivers opportunities for risk management and enhanced farm resilience in a wide variety of ways. Within a single co-op, farmers may currently access ‘futures’ contracts (in some products), participate in long-term customer contracts, accumulate mutually held funds to use in volatile price cycles, participate in supply chain improvement programmes, identify and develop new markets, manage harvest risks, introduce innovation on farm, forward purchase inputs and diversify. Through co-operation, we have the foundations on which to build more sophisticated risk management systems.”

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