Sweet deal for popcorn brand
Diageo has just placed an order with Só Gourmet Popcorn, a Northern Irish start up business, which is based in Draperstown in county Londonderry.
Established earlier this year by Declan McBride, who has a background in food production, Só Gourmet Popcorn was approached by Diageo to supply samples of the luxury product for its staff and its customers for Arthur’s Day.
The Diageo order is the fledgling enterprise’s first significant business beyond the small network of delis and farm shops in Northern Ireland it currently supplies.
“I was delighted to receive an email from Diageo in Belfast for our popcorn to see if I would be able to supply a consignment of the product,” Mr McBride said. “I jumped at the opportunity that the approach provided and hope to be able to build on the initial business.
“It isn’t everyday that a start up business like Só Gourmet is asked to supply such an important global corporation. It’s very encouraging that a company with the pedigree of Diageo would take time to assist a small start up company to raise its profile and get its product into the hands of potential customers.
“There is also the intriguing fact that the Guinness Harp logo was based on a harp developed in Draperstown by Cormac O Kelly in the 1700s. The order with us, therefore, helps to reconnect Guinness with this part of county Londonderry
“We aim to build on this marvellous boost for our business from Diageo by focusing on sales outside Northern Ireland, firstly in the Republic of Ireland and then in Great Britain.
“The sort of growth we wish can really only be achieved by expanding sales in markets outside Northern Ireland. Diageo has given us the confidence to invest in growth in external markets.
“What we’ve created is a luxury popcorn in some different flavours that’s aimed particularly at foodservice outlets such as bars and high-end retailers throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Our branding is based on the Irish word for comfort,” he adds.