A young entrepreneur who started a gin distillery to help underpin the future of her family’s farm has won top billing in a new national awards scheme.

Helen Stewart from Badvo Distillery near Pitlochry has been chosen to be the winner of the first NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award.

The organisers noted that Ms Badvo had taken the initiative to establish the micro distillery at the age of 18 after deciding she needed to develop a new revenue stream for the farm.

With no start up funding to rely on, Ms Stewart worked seven days a week to help get the business started in buildings that had been lying empty.

She takes care of everything from distilling to marketing, and forages for all the botanicals needed for the gin on the farm.

Martin Malone, regional manager Northern Ireland and Scotland for the NFU Mutual insurance and investment business, said Ms Stewart’s story provided a tremendous example of innovation, energy and tenacity.

“With this being the inaugural year of the award, I have been very impressed with the level of entries and am encouraged by the talent taking our food and drink sector forward,” he noted.

Ms Stewart said the award, which came with £500 prize money, provided the perfect end to the distillery’s first month of production.

Lauren Leisk won second place, after developing West-Lothian based Fodilicious. This prepares ready meals for people with special dietary requirements.

Ellie Sinclair of Aberdeenshire business The Veg Co. came third. Ms Sinclair makes jams and sauces from the tomatoes and chillies she grows.