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Warm welcome for pub pork scratchings after start-up’s lockdown misery

Two South Yorkshire entrepreneurs are snaffling up a piece of the lucrative pub snacks market after successfully reinventing the humble pork scratching.

Rotherham’s John Walker and David Mace launched Beerpig in late 2019. Despite losing their entire customer base as the pandemic hit at the outest, the pork scratchings – sold warm directly from the bar – can now be found in more than 250 locations around the UK.

Insurance broker John hit on the idea of producing warm pork scratchings when he decided to conduct an experiment at home, finding it improved the flavour.

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Sharing the discovery with friends, he decided to explore building a business around it.

The creation of a custom-built warming cabinet and the quest to secure the perfect pork crackling were key, with repeat custom vital as it represented a significant investment.

They tapped into Launchpad, the free business support programme aimed at helping new entrepreneurs and SMEs within South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

Mr Walker said: “Pork scratchings are the most popular pub snack in the UK, yet despite their popularity, the way they are sold today has hardly changed since they were first developed nearly 200 years ago. I felt selling warm pork crackling would be something that would be popular with drinkers, so after tailoring and perfecting our recipe, we quickly started receiving regular orders; however, when Covid-19 struck, we were forced to completely re-evaluate our business model. Imagine starting a new company selling to pubs and bars for them ALL to be forced to close their doors within a matter of weeks!”

Launchpad was praised for helping get the legals right as well as refining business plans.

“The workshops we’ve attended have helped us to build our customer base, increase online presence and understand what it takes to run a successful business,” Mr Walker said. “The help we’ve received has enabled us to not only believe in our ideas but lay the foundations for significant future growth.”

During lockdown, having stocked up, supplies were sold online and via Amazon, with rave reviews earned. Snacks that had expired were replaced free for pub customers when they reopened. Now one ton of pork scratchings are shifted a week – with 1,000 outlets the target by the end of next year.

Darren McDool, Launchpad adviser, said: “Beerpig is an exciting company with a bright future ahead of it. John and David spotted new opportunities when faced with adversity, and despite being forced to radically transform their original plans, almost overnight, they were able to adapt their business model and tap into new ways of generating revenue for the business.”

Source: www.business-live.co.uk

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