Queen's Awards celebrated by 13 Scottish businesses

image captionThe Scottish Seabird Centre won its Queen's Award for sustainable development

A whisky firm and a seabird visitor attraction are among more than a dozen Scottish businesses to scoop Queen's Awards for outstanding achievement.

Benromach producer Gordon & MacPhail has been granted a second Queen's Award for Enterprise for international trade.

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick won the accolade for its achievements in sustainable development.

It is the centre's third win, having collected the award in 2004 and 2009.

A total of 13 businesses from around Scotland were among 152 UK winners - 116 for international trade, 27 for innovation and nine for sustainable development.

The only Scottish winner in the innovation category was Aberdeenshire-based Zenith Oilfield Technology for developing well surveillance equipment which has contributed significantly to increasing oil production worldwide.

Glasgow company Sarkar Defence Solutions Ltd, whose principal products include body armour, ballistic vests, helmets and tactical clothing, was among 10 Scottish firms to win an award for international trade.

Anther winner was Dingwall firm Keltic Seafare (Scotland) Ltd, which supplies premium quality Scottish shellfish. It collected its award after seeing export sales increase by 1,633% over the past six years.

Edinburgh-based Vegware Ltd earned a sustainable development award for developing compostable catering packaging and reducing landfill waste in the catering and hospitality sector.

Elgin-based Gordon & MacPhail won its international trade award after increasing its overseas sales by 92% over the past three years.

The company built on its 2009 Queen's Award by refreshing its branding and updating its whisky packaging.

The company's main export markets are Taiwan, France, Germany, USA, and Japan.

'Wonderful achievement'

It has also established new markets in China, Vietnam, South Africa, Turkey and Kazakhstan, with new orders pending for Brazil, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Managing director Michael Urquhart said: "This is a wonderful achievement and recognition for the company and our dedicated staff, as well as for our customers and suppliers worldwide.

image captionBenromach's owners said sales were boosted by their first award win in 2009

"The Queen's Award is recognised across the world as a mark of outstanding quality and I have no doubt that winning the first award in 2009 has contributed to our recent growth."

Another drinks firm, Edinburgh-based Innis & Gunn Brewing Company, also won in the international trade category.

The Scottish Seabird Centre won its Queen's Award for maintaining its commitment to sustainable tourism.

The Queen's Award For Enterprise 2013 stated: "Being a conservation and education charity, it continues to inspire children and adults to appreciate and care for wildlife and the natural environment.

"Its strategies for reducing the environmental impact of its operation, and for educating visitors about them, have been exemplary, particularly regarding the restoration of Craigleith Island habitat."

Naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough sent a message of congratulations to the centre, which is run as a charity.

He said: "The Scottish Seabird Centre has pioneered some truly thrilling ways to give everyone insights into the dramatic lives of our seabirds.

"It richly deserves this prestigious award."

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