Describe how Beckleberry’s started
Beckleberry’s is a proud father & sons business that began back in 1996 when eldest son Peter came to the unexpected decision that a university pathway just wasn’t for him, about the same time his father, a recently made redundant ex-colliery engineer was deciding how best to reinvest his hard-earned redundancy monies. Both shared a slightly obsessive appreciation for ice cream and their proud Northern roots. Both saw an opportunity to tap into their region’s long-standing manufacturing traditions and were adamant that they’d launch a business that made something upbeat and tangible. Peter spied an advert for a short summer ice cream making course at Reading University and the first tentative steps towards food manufacturing were taken. Many people ask us about the name of our business, wondering if it’s some mythical English berry they’ve not yet sampled. As it happens the name arose as a result of my bad eyesight, which merged two words in a book I was reading about Country houses – it was a made-up word we immediately felt a strong affinity for. Over the years we have assembled many products from cakes and patisserie to sorbets and ice cream, they are each as different as you can possibly imagine and yet they’re bound together by a number of consistent ‘golden rules.’
– No limp or half-hearted flavours
- Never consider any ingredients that aren’t best-in-class
- Source locally wherever feasible (our milk & cream)
- Advocate small batch runs over vast soulless mechanisation
– Keep masking sugars to a minimum (hence onus on more full-on, adult leaning palates)
What are the 3 food trends?
Lactose free – ‘free from’ has been hogging the headlines forever and a day, usually with regards to unpalatable grains. And yet, one only has to look at the number of almond milks… on the marketplace to appreciate that there are now over 1m lactose-intolerant individuals in the UK. We think the rise of the lactose-free fraternity has played a central role in the growth or our sorbets, as people look for ‘full-throttle’ alternatives to ice cream.
Reducing ‘Masking’ Sugars – thankfully sugar has been found out as a lazy ingredient that can muddy stunning flavour profiles. As a premium tier pudding provider we’re not going to exclude sugar, what we do however is keep sugar intervention to an absolute minimum so that other fantastical flavours like fruit and cacao can fully express themselves.
Regional Pride Brands with authentic local heritage are increasingly in vogue because consumers take pride in locally produced products with whom they have a strong affinity. These ‘real’ family operations represent the very antithesis of yesteryear’s faceless corporates.
Our packaging very deliberately includes local icons within the wider design as well as a mine head (to celebrate my father’s former career) PLUS our all-important company strapline, ‘Gourmet with a Northern Soul.’
Describe a typical day within Beckleberry’s
No two days are the same, but I’ll invariably spend some time every day at our state-of-art, on site innovation centre trialling latest products, dabbling with flavour profiles and checking how our latest shelf life trials are faring.
I take on sales responsibilities for the family business so spend a lot of time in meetings, at exhibitions and in my car, which I always share with a wealth of sumptuous samples.I will also have regular updates with the wider team, Head Pastry Chef (Ian Winton) by father, Ian who besides being an enthusiastic ‘flavoursmith’ is in charge of production and engineering with my brother David. Here we discuss everything from new orders and recipe requests through to new packaging and logistics needs.
What is your favourite meal?
Sirloin Steak (medium rare) with rosemary potatoes, Martin Miller’s Gin with Fever Tree and a generous scoop of our very own Sour Cherry & Amaretto sorbet.
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