Oct 13, 2004
Success is Preserve of Bangor Company Gin at breakfast time probably isn’t a good idea even in the festive season, but gin and bitter lemon marmalade is a bit of indulgence we can all enjoy without any qualms. The specialty gin flavoured marmalade is one of 42 varieties of preserves produced by the Bangor based Offbeat Bottling Company. Among the other gastronomic delights offered by the family run business are hot toddy marmalade, fruity Irish whiskey chutney and “traffic” jam. The Invest Northern Ireland backed company is run by Laura Beattie and her husband Terry, who are currently working flat out to meet the Christmas demand for their produce, which is completely hand made, and free from additives, colouring and preservatives. Laura launched her company almost ten years ago with her first speciality product, banana jam, and since then has created a range of top quality preserves, with slightly offbeat flavours, aimed at the gourmet market. Earlier this year the quality of the company’s produce was nationally recognised when it was crowned the Fortnum and Mason Reserve Supreme Champion at the UK Great Taste Awards, for its Extremely Orange Marmalade. Laura comments: “Winning the Great Taste award has opened export doors for us and we want to capitalise on that quickly. We’re targeting the high end of the market and have already secured a deal with Fortnum and Mason on the back of the award. “We now need to market ourselves further and develop a web presence. Invest NI’s support and advice on accessing export markets is proving invaluable.” Invest NI has supported the company’s development by providing business advice, marketing support, and assistance with establishing e-mail and internet access. Currently some 25% of the Offbeat Bottling Company’s produce is sold outside Northern Ireland. Laura and Terry aim to increase this to 40% and Invest NI is working with them to help develop a solid marketing strategy and a website through which they can trade globally. Michele Shirlow, Assistant Director Invest NI’s Trade Division, says: “Offbeat Bottling is a small company with enormous potential. Their recent Great Taste award gives them a great opportunity to expand their export sales and we are working with them to help them target their marketing activity to achieve growth in this area. Their niche produce is also perfectly suited to promotion via the Internet and Invest NI is helping them to investigate e-commerce opportunities.”

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