It’s National Beer Day or Beer Day Britain, an annual celebration of our national drink from traditional real ales and mainstream lagers to craft beer and small scale brewing, this day celebrates beer in all its wonderful forms.
In 2020 there were a record number of breweries in the UK with over 3000 being registered, since then numbers have continued to increase despite, or perhaps because of, the Covid-19 pandemic with more people than ever turning to brewing as a career. Britain has always been a producer of fantastic beers and recently with the increase in micro and craft breweries combined with new and innovative techniques and a fresh approach to flavours and methods, the brewing scene shows no sign of slowing.
We recently started stocking a variety of locally brewed beers and today seems as good a day as any to showcase these and their wonderful producers.
Hanlons are a family owned craft brewery based in the beautiful mid-Devon countryside. They use the best quality barley and hops and water from the rolling Devonshire hills alongside innovative brewing processes to create an extensive range of beers.
Yellow Hammer is their bestselling beer and for good reason, it is golden and zesty with an aromatic pineapple and banana fruitiness and a delicate hoppy finish.
Port Stout is a dark chestnut beer with bitter chocolate and dark malt flavours courtesy of the roast barley with the addition of soft fruitiness from rich Ruby Port. Definitely one to try with a creamy blue cheese.
Stormstay Ale is a dark amber beer with toffee and biscuit flavours and hints of tangerine, the late addition of citrus hops cuts through the sweetness creating a wonderfully balanced ale.
Bays Brewery was established in March 2007 by founders Will Freeland, Mark Salmon and Peter Salmon. Based in Paignton on the beautiful Torbay coast the team produce a range of traditional ales as well as craft bottles and ciders using the finest local ingredients whilst supporting the community and protecting the environment.
Gold is head brewer Will’s favourite and Bays’ biggest seller, a light golden ale this is an easy drinking option with citrus lemon overtones.
Devon Dumpling is a strong golden beer with a smooth taste and well balanced flavour. The characterful hops make this a pleasure to drink and a proper Devon beer.
Devon Rock is a craft lager brewed with specially selected hops and local malt resulting in a flavoursome lager with a crisp, refreshing twist.
These beers are all available in individual bottles and cases, and for this week all beer is available with 10% off! Visit our Facebook page via the link below for the code or click here to view our entire range of beers, spirits, wine and cider.
World Gin Day is a global celebration of all things Gin!
A great day in my book to celebrate but even more so now we are stocking the fantastic local Exeter Gin which is proving very popular with our Customers and especially as the weather has taken a turn and we are now experiencing some glorious sunshine.
We currently stock Exeter Gin 70cl, Grandad’s Allotment Rhubard 70cl and Mini gift packs in both Exeter Gin and The Grandad’s range.
Karen launched Exeter Gin in 2017, after realising that there was a real demand for a local gin from feedback from the locals in the City and trying to source a local gin herself.
Karen who owns and runs Exeter Gin with her Husband and Daughter very kindly took some some time out to answer some questions for us – Q: Karen, can you tell us abit more Exeter Gin?
A: Exeter Gin was born from local Exeter people and businesses asking us for a city gin. As I had spent some time in Bath working with their Tourism Plus team I could see how important it was to have a heritage product that represents the city to not just bring notice to the city but to encourage visitors through our relaying Exeters rich past. We feel that tourism brings in valuable economic support to the city and out lying towns and villages with very much needed funds that can be easily experienced through our array of amazing local businesses.
Q: When did you launch Exeter Gin?
A: We registered the company in January 2017 and did an official launch In August 2017 at On The Waterfront which was Roman Day but it literally rained cats and dogs!!
Q: Did the Granny Garbutt’s range get launched at the same time or did it follow after?
A: Granny Garbutts got launched at the same time
Q: Where are you based/ is the Gin produced?
A: We live and work in Teignmouth and need to be close to home (my Mum lives with us and has dementia) but we are looking once the market returns to get a second unit in Exeter.
Q: How have you had to adapt the business during the pandemic?
A: Yes massively we now do hand sanitiser and letter box gin range for posting and its more eco with largely reduced carbon foot print than using glass bottles
Q: Have you seen an increase in your sales of the Gin due to the pub trade being closed and people having to enjoy drinking at home instead?
A: We have seen an increase in on line sales but the majority of our business is within the hospitality trade and events so its pretty tough at the moment.
Q: Are you looking forward to getting back to the markets and shows once they can safely re start again?
Absolutely I really miss that interaction and I will be kissing the floor of our local pub once I’m allowed back in!!
Q: Alcohol is a very new venture for us as a business, we really wanted to focus on local alcohol producers. What would you say to any of our Customers who are thinking about purchasing Exeter Gin? A: Buying local really does support the local economy in so many ways and at Exeter Gin we work closely with a number of people to promote our home city and showcase our award winning gin, after all it did win Best Classic Gin at The Great British Food Awards when Olly Smith from Saturday Morning Kitchen said he could drink it by the bucket full.
Q: With the lockdown restrictions starting to ease what are you looking forward to most once life is back to normal?
A: In addition to visiting my local pub I can’t wait to go our for a meal, there will be a list of about 30 venues to visit
Q: Do you have any plans for anymore flavours of gin for the future?
A: Yes we will add to both brands moving forward and do some limited editions #excitingtimes
Thank you to Karen at Exeter Gin for taking the time out to answer our questions, we have loved learning more about our wonderful City Gin.
And don’t forget to buy some Exeter Gin or Granny Garbutt’s, we also stock the mini bottles gift packs of 3 which are great as a gift or if you haven’t tried Exeter Gin yet this is a great way to try without buying a 70cl bottle.
This week our sister company West Country Olives will be exhibiting at the Source Trade Show at Westpoint Exeter. To celebrate we thought we would share some of our favourite recipes featuring this fantastic ingredient. We know that not everyone likes olives and they can be an acquired taste but trust us when we say that these recipes will make you fall in love with them if you’re not already a stalwart fan. From jazzing up a simple Greek salad to adding another level of flavour to traybakes and pasta sauces, the humble olive is a game changer for midweek meals.
We love this spicy Merguez Sausage recipe, the rich sauce combines well with the light, flaky cod and the olives add a wonderful saltiness to the dish. We would recommenced swapping the nocellara olives in the recipe for our Harissa Glazed halkidiki olives for an extra burst of flavour. Best of all this is a one pot dish meaning less washing up – win win!
We’re not normally salad people but exceptions can be made for a fresh and zingy Greek salad particularly when it’s nice and sunny outside. This is a simple chop and assemble job but the fresh and juicy tomatoes, sharp red onion, meaty kalamata olives and salty feta with a zesty lemon & oregano dressing is completely delicious!
There’s something about the combination of preserved lemons, tomatoes and olives in this recipe that makes this chicken tagine a real winner no matter the season. We like to use our simple green pitted olives for this one which keeps the olive centre stage. Quick and easy to prepare, this is a great midweek dinner that will please the whole family.
Click here to view our entire range of West Country Olives all available in 175g resealable pouches and 1kg catering bags. And if you’re at a loose end tomorrow Tuesday 8th June or Wednesday 9th June why not pop along to Westpoint Exeter for the Source Trade Show? West Country Olives will be there from 10am-5pm with some tasty samples to try. We look forward to seeing you there!
Tried any of these recipes at home? Tag us in your foodie creations via our social media pages below!
Sonnie at Kennerleigh Community Shop spared some time to answer our Q&A questions, a busy little Village store based in Kennerleigh near Crediton.
Kennerleigh Community Shop has been a Customer of ours since 2017, we acquired them as a Customer when we bought Crediton Chilled Foods who were selling up as their business had come to a natural end and the Owners were wanting to move onto pastures new.
We really hope that all of the local small community and village shops continue to thrive and Customers remain supporting them as life starts to return to a small bit of normality, the local shops really need our continued support.
Q: How long has Kennerleigh Community Shop been running?
A: There has been a shop here for many years but the community took it over in 2014.
Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?
A: I don’t really feel like we work in the ‘food’ industry, we work with a wider range of products than just food and are focussed on providing a service to our community. I think that all the staff and volunteers would say that the most rewarding part of the work is serving the community and especially doing the little ‘extra bits’ that only a community shop could do – like deliveries to customers who are unwell and of course during the COVID pandemic we have also made regular deliveries to customers who are isolating. Putting effort into making the shop look appealing with regularly changing window displays and stocking new products is also rewarding. The only downside is perhaps getting the shop open on a wet, cold wintery morning, but that doesn’t happen for too long before the spring comes!
Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?
A: Because I am Dutch I would first of all choose Gouda but from the Cornish Gouda Cheese Company. I would also choose other local cheeses, Devon blue and Cheddar. Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?
A: Customer numbers have definitely increased during the pandemic and although they have recently fallen slightly, we’ve managed to keep the majority with us.
Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?
A: Around 4 years, I have been managing since 2019.
Q: What are some of your best-selling products?
A: Have these changed during the past year? The customers like the selection of cheeses, Chinn’s sausages, chipolatas and bacon. During the last year smoked mackerel and smoked salmon also sold well.
Q: Do you regularly look for new stock?Are there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available?
A: I try to order different items to introduce to our customers and to keep an open mind for new ideas. One thing the customers are missing is the olives from Olive Stall. The new Westcountry Olives packaging is now in circulation which we are much happier with, hopefully you would be willing to give the olives a try with your Customers. We are always working on getting the flavours right, so welcome any feedback.
Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?
A: I do like to eat in pubs, the food they can serve is usually amazingly good. I really like the English culture, especially in this region, of going to the pub together with friends. I think no where else in the world the pub is so nice as it is in England.
Q: What is your favourite meal to cook?
A: I like to cook “chicken in the hat”. Now you will ask me what that is….its a very secret recipe giving by my mother…its contains chicken, cherries and filo pastry….more I won’t reveal.
Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything, we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?
Isca has a very good range of produce and our shop is benefiting from this. The employees are extremely friendly and helpful. I have built a lovely working relationship with Bethany, Lochie and Jamie the delivery man. I just ask you to continue with this high quality of service which I am very grateful for.
As always please get in touch if you would like to take part in our Heart of our Company blog series, we are after some more willing Customers to take part so we can continue this blog we are really enjoying to run.