Global boost in exports for Armagh’s enterprising firm, Burren Balsamics

Burren Balsamics, the Co Armagh producer of a range of natural fruit-infused vinegars, relishes, chutneys and jams, has won its first sales in the US, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

And other business in Asia is also in the pipeline for the small company based near Richill.

The innovatio-led enterprise, run by founder Susie Hamilton Stubber and development chef Bob McDonald, has long been focused on exports and already

supplies high-end customers such as the Republic’s Aer Lingus and Harrods in London’s Knighbridge.

Susie Hamilton Stubber and Bob McDonald of Burren Balsamics in Richill in Armagh are enjoying significant export orders

Susie, an experienced chef, who is “thrilled” by the latest series of exports for the company’s award-winning range of products, continues: “The new business is a marvellous boost for us and a tremendous endorsement as we seek to accelerate sales especially outside Northern Ireland.

“We’ve invested a great deal of our time and other resources in pinpoiinting and exploiting opportunities in key export markets such as the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This has involved taking part in major trade shows especially before the pandemic lockdowns and since as the events have steadily resumed this year.

“The new orders for a range of our products give us important platforms in the US, UAE and Asia. While they aren’t huge they still give us significant scope to grow sales in both short and long terms. We’ll be working closely with our contacts to grow business in these and all other markets in which we now have a presence.”

The breakthrough business in the US and UAE will now be handled by experienced and well-connected food operations in both. The access to South Korea will be by means of an established digital food channel.

“One of our advantages is an extensive portfolio of quality foods including many which have won international awards for quality, innovation and outstanding taste. We’ve a portfolio of original foods for customers in retail, hospitality and on-line to choose,” Susie says.

Burren Balsamics is now established as a nimble and creative small business focused on smart and tasty ideas for the kitchen and dinner table. The company’s products have also attracted the attention of leading chefs here and further afield.

The company was launched by Susie in Febriary 2014 on the back of her extensive and successful background in catering in London and Northern Ireland. She set up the enterprise in her home kitchen before moving to more extensive premises nearby. Bob McDonald, a chef with a track record as an innovator, subsequently joined the business and has played a crucial role in developing other smart ideas for original original products for chefs and experienced home cooks especially during the pandemic.

“We are now producing a range of fruit-infused balsamic vinegars and other products that are all packed with rich tastes including our acclaimed Letterbox Larder innovations such as spices and condiments. The products use as many locally grown ingredients as possible with zesty flavours.

The balsamic vinegars are infused with a range of fruits such as blackberries, bramley apples, blueberries, strawberries, mint and raspberries. They also feature gold leaf, irish peat smoked and Irish heritage apples. Other products, such as, chutneys, mustards, sauces and jams, are also readily available from the company’s stockists and website.

“We believe the fruit vinegars and many of our other products are unique and are ideal for addng delicious flavours to a host of dishes such as poultry, steak, game and salads. They are perfect for barbecues now that we are in the season. They also enhance desserts.”

The small company has won a string of UK Great Taste Awards and Blas na hEireann Irish National Food Awards and is enjoying great success especially in Britain. The shop in the House of Commons, for instance, supplies Burren gift packs to visitors. Other prestigious customers include high-end shops Partridges and Fenwick, both in London.

As well as its focus on international sales, Burren is committed to zero waste, creating original products such as jams and chutneys from wholesome waste.

Among the recycled products created is a balsamic chutney of PGI Armagh Bramley apples for Ballylisk to accompany its unique Triple Rose, a triple cream cheese from milk sourced from the dairy’s farm in Co Armagh. And leftovers of Burren’s blood orange and cardamom balsamic vinegar have been used to create an original marmalade. Another original product in the zero waste range is an onion jam which uses the onions left over from the two star Great Taste Award roast onion black balsamic.

“It makes sound business sense sense for us to use up the leftovers. They are high-quality ingredients. They taste amazing, and we love experimenting. So, it’s a no brainer!” says Susie.