Copping the most coveted prize at the Jamaica Manufacturer's Association (JMA) annual awards banquet last night shocked first time winner Wisynco Group Limited.
The Governor General's Award for manufacturer of the year for 2011 was "definitely not expected" even though the Bigga soft drink manufacturer had won breakthrough product of the year for its Ocean Spray Wata for 2008.
"It's an amazing accomplishment," finance director Andrew Mahfood said.
"We take manufacturing very seriously and it's exciting because we have so many people directly employed in that side of the business," he said.
Although the win will keep them focussed, Mahfood said even without it, the team's passion would have remained.
"We've just approved another expansion budget and we would've continued to invest in our plant to continue to build brand Jamaica."
Each year, the JMA honours its more than 300 members by presenting prizes to top manufacturers in 25 categories.
Big winners at last night's ceremony included beer manufacturer Red Stripe and P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company Limited, both winning four awards each.
Red Stripe won the HIV/AIDS Advocacy award; the Community Development Award in the large manufacturer category; the Robert Lightbourne Award for Skill and Productivity in the large manufacturer category; and the Champion Exporter in the category of large exporter.
The Community Development Award in the small manufacturer category was presented to P.A. Benjamin, along with the Robert Lightbourne Award for Skill and Productivity in the category of small and medium enterprises; the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Award for Competitiveness; and the Ray Hadeed Award for Best Small and Medium Sized Enterprise.
Rum distiller J Wray and Nephew - which won manufacturer of the year for 2007 and 2009 - walked away with the Food and Agro Product Group Award and the Digicel Business ICT Award.
The breakthrough product of the year 2011 went to Edgechem Jamaica Limited for Automel Super.
Manufacturers are critical to the island's economic recovery and need nationwide support to strengthen citizen welfare, said JMA president Brian Pengelley.
"Our winners exemplify the elite of manufacturing innovation, commitment to excellence and dedication to employees, community and the environment," he said.