A craft beer mobile canning business started by two school friends in Mullingar has won the top prize at this year's National Enterprise Awards.
Ciarán Gorman and Darren Fenton founded Bevcraft with the aim of creating an international business in their hometown. The company offers a mobile canning solution to craft beer companies across Ireland. It also operates in five European countries, including Germany and the UK.
Bevcraft sends its mobile canning lines and crews into craft breweries to convert tanks of craft beer into cans, ready for supermarket shelves and off-licences.
The company, established in 2016, handled 20 million cans in 2020 and is on course to handle 50 million this year. The company employs 17 people and hopes to increase this to 30 by year end.
Along with the overall award, announced on Thursday at a virtual event by Minister for State Damien English, five category winners were named.
The Innovation Award went to Dublin-based VRAI, which provides virtual reality training simulations to companies that may work in remote or dangerous areas.
Business automation software group Kianda Technologies, also based in Dublin, won the Best Export Award. The Future Focus Award went to Lidan Designs, from Roscommon, which creates modular, energy-efficient buildings off-site.
Two new awards were presented at what is the 22nd year of the event, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. The Brexit Ready Award was won by Waterford company Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese, which found new markets for its artisan cheddar as the UK left the EU.
The Pivot Award winner went to personalised gifting group WowWee.ie from Clare. When the Covid pandemic saw its corporate market disappear, it turned instead to selling successfully direct to consumers.
Netwatch founder David Walsh was recognised with an Outstanding Achievement award in building the Carlow company into a global business.