Two young men from Mullingar, Co Westmeath have won the top prize at the National Enterprise Awards after setting up the largest craft beer canning plant in Europe in just four years.

Bevcraft was established by friends Ciarán Gorman and Darren Fenton after Darren returned from living in Japan with the aim of creating an international business in his home town.

The company offers a mobile canning solution to craft beer companies across Ireland and 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 handled 20 million cans last year and is on course to deal with 50 million this year.

Up to 18 people currently work for the firm and it hopes to employ close to 30 by the middle of next year.

The company, which have been supported by the Westmeath Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has recently transferred to Enterprise Ireland to support the targeting of international global markets.

Along with the overall winner, five category winners were announced.

The Innovation Award went to Dublin-based tech company VRAI.

The firm provides virtual reality training simulations to companies who may work in remote or dangerous areas.

The Best Export Award was won by Kianda Technologies, supported by LEO Fingal, which streamlines business processes in areas such as finance, human resources and quality.

The Future Focus Award went to Lidan Designs in Co Roscommon.

It creates modular energy efficient buildings off-site for offices, schools and housing.

In recognition of the particular challenges overcome by businesses in 2020, two new awards were presented.

The Brexit Ready Award went to Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese in Co Waterford, a raw milk artisan cheddar cheese producer.

The Pivot Award winner went to Co Clare-based personalised gifting company

This year’s winners share a €50,000 investment fund.

Eight regional winners were also announced:

  • The Artisan Pizza Company in the Dublin Region (backed by LEO South Dublin)
  • Odyssey Studios in the South West Region (backed by LEO Limerick)
  • QPQ in the Mid East Region (backed by LEO Kildare)
  • Submit Software Solutions in the South Region (backed by LEO Cork City)
  • Irish Fluid Controls in the South East Region (backed by LEO Carlow)
  • Dromod Boxty in the North West Region (backed by LEO Leitrim)
  • Qualitas Electronics in the North East Region (backed by LEO Meath)
  • Armour Interactive in the West Region (backed by LEO Galway)