On Wednesday 19 December, the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon MSP, visited three Port Glasgow food and drink businesses at the request of Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, Stuart McMillan.
The New Chocolate Company, The Start-Up Drinks Lab and Nutcrafter Creamery – all based at Riverside Inverclyde’s Kelburn Business Park near Woodhall – gave the Minister and the local MSP a tour of their premises and an insight into their production lines and products.
Commenting after the visit, Mr McMillan said:
“I’m delighted that Mairi was able to visit these three businesses as they represent Inverclyde’s growing food and drink offering.
“The products these businesses produce are innovative, ethical and sustainable. The New Chocolate Company does not use palm oil in their confectionary, The Start-Up Drinks Lab supports small craft drink producers to tackle the tide against mass-produced drinks, and Nutcrafter Creamery provides vegan, nut-based dairy products that also do not use palm oil in their recipes.
“All of these businesses are, at the most, a few years old and I’m glad they have settled in at Port Glasgow, and wish them every success in the future.”
Brian Dick, owner and chocolatier at The New Chocolate Company, said:
“It was a pleasure to have the Minister visit and to welcome Stuart back after visiting us in the summer. He has been a vocal supporter of ours, and I’m grateful to him for organising the visit.
“Our business has gone from strength to strength since setting up in Port Glasgow, and we’re thrilled that the Scottish Parliament’s shop now also stocks our chocolates thanks to Stuart’s support. The Scottish Tourist Board has recently awarded us a five star rating which we’re very proud of considering we only started out two years ago.”
Hannah Fisher, co-founder of The Start-Up Drinks Lab, added:
“Having only came up with the idea to create a small batch bottling company in 2016, when Stuart visited our premises in the summer our production facilities had only just been set up. It was great to welcome him back along with the Minister to show them how things have progressed for us over the last seven months, as business is thriving and we are loving being part of the family at Kelburn thanks to Riverside Inverclyde’s support.”
During their visit to the Nutcrafter Creamery, wife-and-husband duo Francesco Accolla and Aimee Jackson explained how they began creating nut-based vegan cheeses for themselves, then later for their customers at a vegan café in Rome that they owned for a number of years. When they moved to Scotland, they noticed a gap in the market and as a result became the first nut cheese maker in the UK.
It has been three years since Francesco and Aimee decided to create Nutcrafter Creamery, and every year their sales have doubled. The unit at Kelburn is their third premises since starting out, and the pair have found it to be perfect for their needs.
The Minister concluded that the visit was a fantastic opportunity for her to see first-hand the growing food and drink sector in Inverclyde, and thanked Stuart for inviting her to Port Glasgow.