This month we’re introducing you to the finalists in this year’s The Pitch awards, run by SiftMedia in association with Yell. The Pitch 2011 supports and celebrates small businesses from start-up to success.
Today we meet the Northern Ireland finalist Barbara Hughes, co-founder of Boozeberries Artisan liqueurs.
For any of our readers who aren’t aware of you, can you give us an intro to the business?
Boozeberries is a premium Artisan Berry Liqueur naturally enhanced with the infusion of whole wild fragrant berries. Hand-crafted in small batches, supreme selected berries are infused in a rich mellow blend of Irish grain spirit to give a clean delicate taste of summer fruits all through the year!
‘Ireland’s 1st Fruit liqueur’ can be served chilled, over ice or added to Champagne, Prosseco or other sparkling wine to create amazing Champagne cocktails (it’s a real treat to watch the berries dance in the bubbles) It can be used to create innovative cocktails and sumptuous desserts… - Check out our free Boozeberries cocktail recipes
Boozeberries has picked up a clutch of awards at food and drink shows, and has been honoured with celebrity chef and 5 star restaurant endorsements:
Boozeberries Liqueurs are Available in 3 flavours:
Wild Cranberries, Zesty Blackcurrant and Wild Blueberries.
Where can we find you, and why did you choose to set up shop where you did? - What attracted you to that area?
We currently work from home; however we are searching for suitable premises close to home in the Banbridge area in Co Down.
Our stockists include The Drink Shop, Tesco NI, and other independent off licenses and restaurants.
What inspired you to start your business?
Both I and my husband Stuart wanted a better work/life balance and wanted a way to use our skills to create a better life for our family. We pride ourselves on high quality unique products and service.
What’s your philosophy in a nutshell? What would you say makes you stand out from the crowd?
Firstly commitment and determination to succeed in a very competitive market dominated by giants, then the niche we have focused on – high-end specialist Liqueurs, 100% natural and 100% delicious.
Can you explain how your business works and what differentiates it from your competitors’ in the industry?
We have created a culture that treats alcoholic drinks like food, the barman has become a chef and is searching for high quality ingredients. People appreciate what we are doing, the Mixologists and key players in the industry have told us our products are what they have been waiting for. Our Liqueurs are described as Fresh they are not sticky or sweet and allow the bartender versatility with his carefully balanced flavours.
Do you have a signature product you could tell us about?
All our liqueurs are created and flavoured naturally from whole Berries; the berries become a delicious garnish in your drinks, cocktails and desserts, and the little boozy berries add to your experience.
What would you say is the secret to a successful independent business?
Don’t let negative people put you off! When you have researched your business and are confident in what you are doing – Go For It! It’s not easy but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Can you share a few of your favourite local, independent businesses with us?
My favourite local business are
Slice of Heaven - one of my very best friends Heather makes amazing desserts.
Harnett’s Oils - Jane is making natural and healthy oils rapeseed, hemp and flavoured from her own farm.
Fluid Voodoo - Richard is educating people in the art of cocktails both for fun and for the professional bartenders.
How does it feel to have won your heat of The Pitch?
Really good! But the pressure is on now not to let Northern Ireland down on the Final!
Are you confident about the final?
Yeah – pretty confident if I can keep the nerves at bay… Just one to beat I think (not telling who though lol)
All great wee businesses but think there are only 2 of us that are global brands.
If you could give one piece of advice for an Entrepreneur considering entering next year’s Pitch competition, what would it be?
Go for it and focus on what makes you unique!
Finally, following The Pitch, what can we expect from you in 2011/2012? Anything our readers should be looking forward to?
Better distribution and new brands – our Facebook page is a good place to keep up to date with our progress
The Pitch 2011 final is on 18th November.
The four region finalists will be joined by a fifth, chosen by live public vote for the Wildcard Award - Voting ends 6th November.
The overall champion will win a package of business products and services worth £50,000. We wish them all good luck!