ORGANIC smoked salmon producer The Burren Smokehouse has signed a valuable sales agreement with the prestigious gourmet food retailer Fortnum and Mason (F&M).
Clare-based Burren Smokehouse’s artisan products are now stocked in F&M’s six-level flagship store in London’s Piccadilly. F&M also has outlets in continental Europe, the US, Canada, Russia, Australia and Asia, as well as most major British airport terminals.
As an added boost, F&M is using St Patrick’s Day to launch its new product.
Burren Smokehouse co-owner Birgitta Curtin will be in Piccadilly on March 16 and 17 to coordinate two days of promotional in-store tastings.
Ms Curtin said: “It’s great Fortnum and Mason are using St Patrick’s Day to launch the new product. It will be fantastic to meet and greet customers, answer questions and offer an insight into traditional Irish food-smoking traditions.”
Husband and wife Peter and Birgitta Curtin set up their rural artisan smokehouse business in 1989. Their products have sold internationally via mail order for the past 20 years. The F&M deal is a starter for further exports to Germany, the US and France, where Burren Smokehouse also has St Patrick’s Day promotions planned.
Birgitta Curtin said: “Irish organic salmon is widely known as being among the best in the world. It is fished from a sustainable source, and due to the conditions in which it lives it has a much firmer texture. Our salmon is gently smoked over oak for 16 hours in the oven.
“For now we are targeting top-end speciality food shops. I am also sending out some samples for tasting promotions in the USA, Germany and France.
“We have had some communications with stores in those countries who were impressed that we are being stocked in Fortnum and Mason stores. It is like a quality mark for us.”
Ms Curtin said that F&M thoroughly examined processes and procedures at The Burren Smokehouse and even sent a quality manager to assess quality and standards at the smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna.
Peter Curtin said the company should be in a position to announce a number of new developments over the coming months.
He added: “It’s shaping up to be an exciting period of expansion and growth.
“Our international online sales are thriving and we’ve recently redesigned and relaunched our popular website.
“We’re confident that we’ll be ready to reveal details of new export listings in the near future.
“We’re very close to confirming retail listings in the United States, Germany and France and we’re also pursuing a number of lucrative sales leads elsewhere across continental Europe,” he added.
“Last year we decided to ‘think big’ and set ourselves some ambitious sales targets. So far our export growth strategy has been extremely successful — hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have announced several more sales agreements and we’ll be looking at the possibility of employing additional staff.”
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