Fakenham’s Norfolk Sloe Company launches new products to meet more markets

Patrick Saunders holds one of the Norfolk Sloe Company's products with, behind, other members of the family business, from left - Sarah Saunders, Zoe Emmerson, Keith Emmerson, William Kershaw, Nicola Kershaw and Leanne Kershaw ANL-150819-085114001

Patrick Saunders holds one of the Norfolk Sloe Company's products with, behind, other members of the family business, from left - Sarah Saunders, Zoe Emmerson, Keith Emmerson, William Kershaw, Nicola Kershaw and Leanne Kershaw ANL-150819-085114001

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Family-run business The Norfolk Sloe Company is extending its range of products and is looking to expand into new markets.

The Fakenham-based firm, which was this year chosen as one of the Defra Food Stars by Environment minister Elizabeth Truss, has just launched a new gift pack, which it anticipates will be a popular stocking filler this Christmas.

It contains four 6cl bottles of liqueurs with the Black Shuck branding, which has been hugely successful for the business. The Black Shuck is a legendary hound said to roam the East Anglian coastline.

The company, run by Patrick and Sarah Saunders with input from their children Leanne, Nicola and William, plus Sarah’s nephew, Keith and his wife, Zoe, is also working on a new product which could revolutionise the business.

It is looking to launch its new Norfolk Inspired Premium Gin, which uses locally sourced botanicals.

Patrick explained: “The Black Shuck gin product would enable us to move into a new market as it would be available to high class Norfolk restaurants and bars.

“It would be something which would be readily available. The sloes, which are used for the liqueurs are limited in quantity by the growing season.

“The gin trials are now complete, the recipe perfected, bottles sourced, labels designed and the unique gin product which uses locally sourced botanicals, will be on the shelves just as soon as all the essential legal and registration processes are concluded.

“This product has great potential and could change the face of our business. We will reinvest as we go and see how well received it is in England, but it is possible we could be looking to export overseas.”

The company has seen positive growth since it was found in 2012 when they made their first 300 bottles of Black Shuck Sloe Gin and 100 boxes of Black Shuck Sloe Gin Truffles.

They were approached by a local farm shop to stock their products and sold out within months. They then extended their range to include Raspberry Vodka and Plum Brandy and were approached by more retailers.

Last year two further liqueurs were added to the range, Blackcurrant Rum and Damson Port, and the quality of the Black Shuck Sloe Gin was awarded three stars in the prestigious Great Taste Awards, one of 150 products selected from 10,000.

Earlier this year, Patrick and Keith attended the Food Stars conference in London and were inspired to continue to develop the business.