AN AWARD-WINNING oat milk business will soon see its products in specialist retailers across the UK.

At the beginning of the year, Brose Oats won a gold award in the drinks category at Scotland’s Speciality Food and Drink Show, while last summer the East Linton business picked up prizes at the Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.

Now it will be stocked in farm shops and delicatessens throughout the country thanks to a major expansion.

Brose Oats has started a partnership with Dunfermline-based Cress Company.

Josh Barton, CEO and founder of Brose Oats, won the inaugural food and drink category at Scottish EDGE in November last year.

In addition to taking the top prize of £100,000, the entrepreneur also received a package of advisory services, including support from competition sponsor, UK accountancy and business advisory firm Johnston Carmichael.

Josh said: “Cash is king but the benefits of being a winner go beyond funding.

“The network, support and contacts that have become available are extraordinary – it is like becoming part of an elite club, a seal of approval that opens doors.

“At the time my objective was simply to get the prize money, but the extensive application process really helped me to sharpen my business plan, forecasting and timeline, and consider the resources required to get me from where I was to where I wanted to be.

“We had been trying to get investment for our current scale-up for three years prior to Scottish EDGE, but the only interest was from people who wanted to acquire us.

“Winning the top prize allowed us to access asset finance funding and opportunities that we wouldn’t have had. Even if there had been interest from retailers and wholesalers, we wouldn’t have had the production in place to deliver.”

In addition to securing national retail distribution, Brose Oats is building its food service network, supplying to Lomond Foods and attaining listings with the University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University, the University of Glasgow, and Scottish Government sites.

It is also served at Edinburgh’s landmark, five-star Balmoral Hotel.

Adam Hardie, business development partner and head of food and drink at Johnston Carmichael, helps to judge EDGE competitors’ pitches, and supports winners with business advice.

He said: “Brose Oats has a brilliant product, and Josh is a fantastic entrepreneur, but having a more commercial focus has changed his outlook as much as winning prize money has.”