A Co Down guitar maker favoured by Ed Sheeran has been honoured with an award from the Queen.
After 45 years in business, Downpatrick-based Lowden Guitars has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.
The brand began in 1974 when George Lowden started hand-crafting guitars and it has received endorsement from musicians including Ed Sheeran, Paul Brady, Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Damien Rice and Eric Clapton.
Mr Lowden described the award as a “milestone”.
“It has been a milestone moment for Lowden Guitars to be included by the Prime Minister and Her Majesty the Queen on the list of businesses in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise,” he said.
“It has taken a lot of hard work, patience and determination during the last 45 years and we are delighted and humbled to be among other home-grown companies and brands on this prestigious list.”
Last year saw the launch of Sheeran By Lowden, which saw the firm produce a new range of guitars in collaboration with the globally-acclaimed singer-songwriter.
Managing director David Ausdahl said the collaboration had introduced a new generation of musicians to the brand.
“The whole team is pleased to congratulate George Lowden on this truly special commendation which recognises his dedication to continued growth while maintaining the outstanding reputation of the Lowden Guitars brand,” he said.
“The long judging process began last year, and we are delighted to have been notified of our award win.”
Now in its 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years.
The Lowden Guitars team will celebrate during a royal reception with fellow winners this summer at Buckingham Palace.