The Rural Affairs and Environment Minister has given a rave review for Inverclyde’s burgeoning food and drink industry.
During a visit to Riverside Inverclyde’s Kelburn Industrial Estate in Port Glasgow, Mairi Gougeon saw for herself the creativity oozing out of the New Chocolate Company, The Start-Up Drinks Lab and Nutcrafter Creamery.
Following tours of all three premises, the minister promised the government would do all it can to support the specialist businesses in the future.
From their state of the art premises, Brian and Joanne Dick of The New Chocolate Company’s have secured five stars from VisitScotland – along with an expanding list of high-end suppliers.
Rural Affairs and Environment Minister, Ms Gougeon, said:
“It is so important to come here to Inverclyde to see first-hand the food and drink industry so that we can find out what we can do to support local producers going forward.
“The products are fantastic.
“Inverclyde has some fantastic producers, and it is great to see such a strong food and drink industry in this part of Scotland.”
From the Kelburn Business base, Brian sources the best chocolate from the finest plantations from Papua New Guinea to Columbia.
Together with his wife Joanne they have sweet tasting empire that is paying off with a team of talent behind them including chocolatier Katrina Hocking.
“I love working here; it isn’t like a job at all. It is amazing.
“I had previously worked in kitchens, so this is so different. It is incredible working with chocolate all day.”
Brian gave the Scottish minister a tour of the factory where the chocolate is manufactured, and a variety of different classes held.
Owner Joanne said:
“It was great to have the Scottish minister here to see for herself the work we do.”
Afterwards, the minister went on to the Nutcrafter Creamery, set up by husband and wife team Francesco Accollo and Aimee Jackson.
They make vegan-friendly, plant-based cheeses.
To finish off the tour the minister went to the Start-Up Drinks Lab, founded by entrepreneurs Hannah Fisher and Craig Strachan.
Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan joined the minister on the tour after highlighting the local food and drink industry locally.
“After the Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight, I brought the success of the industry in Inverclyde to the attention of Mairi, and she wanted to come to see it for herself.
“These three businesses are a real asset to Port Glasgow and Inverclyde.”
This story and images appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on 21 December 2018.