BiabeagOnline.com – buying small scale Irish food products online

UPDATE 11:50 – I can see the site via iPhone over same wifi network but not on laptop on two different browers, Update again in a minute.

UPDATE 11:46 11th Dec – right now (8minutes after the blog post!) that website is down. It is hosted on wordpress.com so it is extremely unusual to see that. I had just purchased the domain name and tested that it was working so it maybe related to that. I’ll update again when up.

One of the ways in which small scale Irish food producers can survive and thrive is to develop alternative distribution and sales channels.

In some cases those channels fully substitute for working with distributors and/or retailers (either independent or multiples) and in other cases they are in addition to those.

When I worked with Bord Bia previously on this there were significant challenges to making a success of online retail – everything from the technology (websites, shopping carts and payment processing) through to fulfilment of multiple small orders.

It has gotten a lot easier and many more producers have moved to develop online stores – so many that when I finally got around to developing a quick guide/directory over Christmas I found more than I had anticipated and have been adding 3 or 4 a week as I see them. (There are no multiple retailers listed because they don’t need this assistance.)

The results are up on www.biabeagonline.com and it would be great if this makes it easier for small producers to sell and for us as consumers to find great food online – whether for regular purchases or irregular gifts and treats :-)

Some quick stats based on first 56 inclusions:

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Thats a lot of food producers selling their products with some of them using subscription packages to make it commercially viable and others like Real Italian Foodies curating a selection of products to make individual sales bigger.

As you can see online also makes it easier to reach niche food audiences and for those audiences to find relevant and suitable products.

If you find one I’ve missed please let me know in the comments and if there are inaccuracies point them out to me :-)

Keith

Food Producer Business – Starter Kit

This is a round up of a couple of different things I have referred to across different accounts and media. Aimed at anyone who is considering starting a business but especially a food product one in Kilkenny.

Farmers Markets:

You will want to test your product on real people. Farmers markets are the most popular and best way of doing this. Kilkenny has one every Thursday on the Parade outside the Castle. Here is Josephine, Spelt Bakers stall there:

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Food Production:

With initial production likely to be in your kitchen at home (unless you have very specific requirements) after a while you will hopefully need to produce in higher volumes. There is a commercial kitchen available to rent in Kilkenny

Further details:

  • 6 ring industrial gas hob / oven
  • Industrial fridge
  • industrial glass washer
  • Upright stainless steel deepfreeze
  • Double drainer sink and separate hand washing sink
  • PVC clad walls throughout
  • Industrial wall sockets and tiled floor with stainless steel gullies
  • Electricity and gas supply metered

For more information contact Kevin Mahon on +353 (86) 828 6863

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Office space:

Not an problem initially but occasionally you might want to find a space to do your marketing and admin in. The newly launched (available from mid January) shared work space New Work Junction offers an affordable and professional working environment.

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Commercial Focus:

With a multiplicity of startup programs around 2013 saw the beginning of one that has gained a great reputation. The Food Academy is run by Bord Bia and the local Enterprise Offices with the Support of Musgraves. Right now I can’t find an up to date website for it but check this Fingal LEO link for some info and contact your local LEO office.

Food Academy Start Logo

Keith

Biabeag – WordPress generated 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Decided to include it as a blog post :-)

Some of the stats are kinda interesting.

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Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Buying Irish artisan food online – list of sources

An increasingly useful option for small scale Irish food producers is to at least supplement their sales via retailers with an online store. This won’t always be appropriate or successful but it has gotten a hell of a lot easier in the last couple of years.

Finding those online store options can be difficult for consumers and I know that I have seen announcements almost weekly on Facebook for the last 3 or 4 months.

https://biabeagonline.wordpress.com

A new project (to make good use of my Christmas downtime) is to bring a list of those online sites together in one place. Nothing fancy but hope it helps. If you know of any relevant sites that are not there please let me know in the comments here :-)

Screenshot 2014-12-27 15.48.09

thanks, Keith

Videos of Meet the Chocolate Makers @thetrufflefairy @BLYSS_choc @Beanandgoose

Thanks as ever to Ken McGuire, AnyGivenFood, for videoing and editing/design of these rough cuts of the evening. This was a fixed camera as he had to head away but captured most of the evening :-)

And thanks to the crowd who turned up, to Julie and Rod Calder Potts for their work in hosting and to Karen, Mary and Lyss for sharing their passion and stories with us :-)

Karen Keane, Bean and Goose

Mary Teehan, Truffle Fairy

Alyssa Jade McDonald, Blyss Chocolate

Keith

Competition Time – Win a behind the scenes tour of the new @highbankorchard distillery

On Saturday 13th December Ireland’s smallest legal distillery launches in Highbank Organic Orchard.

This one is special for a number of reasons. Apart from the distinction of being the smallest it will also be the only organic spirit distillery in Ireland and also the only one where the raw material for the spirits is grown on the farm the distillery is based on.

Thats important to Rod and Julie Calder Potts who are the driving force behind this.

Saturday 13th will see a big crowd turn up for the opening of the distillery and that will be the first time that the spirits will be for sale. Its a food production facility so everyone who turns up will get to see the distillery through a special viewing window.

still viewing window

But for a special group it will be different – you will get a tour of the facility behind the scenes (booties and the works) with Rod (the master distiller) explaining how this lovely machine works and showing you a batch of spirits in production. One of this special group will also win a signed bottle of the first production batch made :-).

This is RTE journalist Sarah McIntyre having that same tour yesterday.

 

What do you need to do to be in the winning?

Answer one of 2 questions either

a) in the comments here

b) on Twitter using #orchardspirit

c) on the Highbank Facebook Page

d) do a blog post and leave a link here or on their page

Q1 – what is the capacity in litres of the still?

or

Q2 Come up with a word or phrase for the labelling on the spirit that best describes the idea that the spirit is distilled on the farm from crops grown on the same farm. In chocolate this can be referred to as Bean to Bar, you can also see references to a Single Estate food product. What would best capture this for you?

Enjoy and look forward to seeing you on the 13th :-)

Keith

Highbank Orchards Christmas Food and Craft Fair 2014

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This Highbank Orchards Christmas Food & Craft Fair 13th and 14th December (Saturday and Sunday) promises to be a two day Christmas Extravaganza for all the family. It starts at 11am each day and finishes at dusk :-)

At 12.00 Saturday 13th December Highbank Orchard will cut the ribbon to open Ireland’s smallest distillery and they will have for sale the first bottles of Highbank Orchard Spirit amidst a celebration of over 30 local food and craft stalls with hot and cold food, hot apple juice, Glasrai & Goodies hampers and toys – Christmas shopping made easy.

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There is are also

  • Christmas trees,
  • puppet shows by Miriam Lambert,
  • Mid Winter Mini beast hunts with Monica,
  • Orchard Train rides
  • Ann Neary & Edward Hayden’s ‘Stress Free Christmas Cooking’ accompanied by Breda McDonald making butter.
  • Of course there will be an occasional appearance of Santa :-)

There is no entrance charge but it is recommended to prebook the events listed below as places are limited.

Ann Neary/Edward Hayden Present : Stress free Christmas Cooking

Anne Neary (Ryeland Cookery School) & Edward Hayden (TV3 celebrity chef) appear in our Cooking Pit. Pre booking essential.

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Image thanks to http://greensideup.ie

Miriam Lambert Puppeteer presents: Goldilocks and The Three Bears – ‘imagine a story come to life’

Suitable for families. Only €5.00 per head with prebooking essential to avoid disappointment.

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Midwinter mystery adventure with Monica Fleming

Discover what our native wildlife is getting up to in the depths of winter mini-beast quest, pond dipping, winter tree identification, build an animal hide.

Last years mini beast tours fascinated the younger children particularly; they could be seen enthusiastically shaking autumn leaves from trees to see what insects might be hiding there.

These adventures run from 2pm to 3.30 each day Saturday and Sunday.

Pre booking essential – click here to get your tickets now.

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Ballaghtobin Real Christmas Trees

These are Nordman non-shed trees direct from the growers and each tree is over 9 years old. They are netted for easy transport. You can buy one online here and collect on the day.